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Old 03-14-2010, 11:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help me decide if I keep this foster I've got

I'm not sure if this foster B...basset I've taken on is really ready to be placed with just an experienced owner and shouldn't still be with a trainer or someone experienced in rescuing & retraining.

He's just nipped someone for the second time in ten days. Followed it by trying to defend me from that person by attempting to attack his shoes.

Then after our bedtime walk he had not just one but two goes at the mini poodle I'm also fostering. The first was just growling and I yanked his lead/collar up tight and controlled him but I didn't want to reach for the poodle who wasn't moving out of range. When I eased up on the lead B..basset grabbed the poodle around the neck. I yanked B...basset right off his front feet with the lead and he let go of the poodle who seems unhurt.

Opinions, ideas please.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think by asking the question you have answered it.

There is a pervasive feeling in many reacues that all dogs can be saved. This is not the case and never will be. Part of the rescue mission need to be asscessing dogs and helping those than can be helped and helping those that cannont move on to a better place.

Rescue far too often place dogs that have no business being placed, it is why there is a reputation in the market place that rescues deal in distrubed and undesirable dogs, It a perception that they have hoisted upon themeselves.
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've been thinking about the issues and possibilities, both negative and positive.

Simply put the biggest issue is that B.Basset can only safely be around experienced dog people until it is seen if his issues can be managed at all and my world includes many inexperienced dog people and non-dog people. From what I have seen using a muzzle appropriately would protect all involved...a long as when I ask him to wear it we don't end up with issues.

Using a muzzle appropriately would have prevented today's issues. If he had been wearing it when we were in a casual situation where my attention was not totally on him and those around him, would have meant that either he wouldn't have been in a position to be startled into nipping, or he wouldn't have been able to nip when startled. If he had been wearing a muzzle the human behaviour around him would be more cautious, less likely to startle him. If he hadn't been startled into being protective, he wouldn't have seen the need to react to protect me after. If he hadn't been startled, triggered to protect, controlled, triggered to remember his fears of punishment, would he have seen the mini poodle as an annoyance not a friend? Who knows but in any case he would have had to deal with them without nipping, possibly discovering that they weren't situations to be fearful of.

B.Basset is loving, bright and eager to please. Worth the effort perhaps.
He's got his head on my knee now, subdued, I see no sign that he no longer trusts me, or that he feels he's gained dominance with his behaviour. Rather the opposite he's quick to obey now.

It just occured to me that the fact he attacked the shoes to defend me not the legs might tells us a couple of things. If his behaviour with the lead snap and collar ring is defensive, as suggested in another post, he was being very specific about what he felt was dangerous, the shoes. Also he chose to attack not the vunerable human legs. Possibly a good sign? Was he defending not attacking?

So tomorrow we'll see how he is about wearing the muzzle he came with for nail clipping and ear cleaning. Its a heavy plastic wire cagey thing. I hate the thought of seeing him wear it, but before I give up on him its worth a try.

The thing is I'm not afraid of him, a little concerned that I'll get nipped again. I'm more afraid of the human commotion if I get this wrong.

I know some can't, shouldn't be saved, the kindest thing sometimes is to give them peace. Doing that can cause its own human commotion though.

Time will tell. Its back to bed for both B.Basset and I now.
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My family have had Bassets (mostly rehomes apart from my current pups and two others from pups) and never once have we seen any agression of any sort in any of them, or others that we have known over the years.

Perhaps your foster Basset needs to be with someone who can give him one to one attention where there are no other dogs in the house because Bassets are not known to be aggressive and I have heard the Dog Whisperer say that they are the most docile and least agressive breed he has ever come across! My two Bassets grab each other around the neck but they are playing with each other! Was yours 'playing' with the poodle and the poddle being smaller may have made it look agressive?

Can you try him with a softer type of muzzle rather than a hard plastic thing that he will find uncomfortable and it might annoy him!

Edit: Is this the same Basset from this previous post?

Looking for some help with a challenging basset rescue foster

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Old 03-15-2010, 08:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes, it is the same basset.

The more I think about it the more I suspect he is just scared and defending himself the only way he's found that works. It also fits that he is always eager to slink off to his crate after any issue that requires discipline. Probably he's learned that means an end to the punishment. Poor guy.

I think it was jealousy that triggered the attack on the poodle.

Apparently he came from a two dog home with lots of male to male sibling play, so he also probably has no idea of appropriate play behaviour either.

If he tolerated the hard muzzle, and I feel he can stay with me I will get a softer one. Before all this happened I had been considering if a haltie would allow me to control his head the way one does with a horse. I believe that would be enough to make him stop and behave. He will leave food on counters or on the ground with "off" and a training lead snap (tug). It doesn't take much to correct him he is so eager to please. In a week he's given up greeting every one by jumping up. It happened so easily I didn't even notice it until I was reviewing everything I knew about him when I woke this morning. I needed to look really honestly at what I thought about keeping him, the risks, and if there really is potential to modify his behaviour enough for a placement in an experienced single dog home. At the moment the jury is still out. One day at a time for now.

I does help that I can post here. Thanks for doing jury duty folks!
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
If he tolerated the hard muzzle, and I feel he can stay with me I will get a softer one
A soft muzzle is only for temporary use. If you plan to use the muzzle for any length of time the only choice is a basket muzzle which does not interfere with breathing and cooling via panting.


Quote:
It also fits that he is always eager to slink off to his crate after any issue that requires discipline
I rather doubt that is the case. more often than not a crate is a safe haven, That is it goes of to the crate because it is the one place he feels safe. Corrections/discipline with a shy fearful dog is only going to create a dog that becomes increaseingly fearful around you.
Given the emotional state of these dogs they do not associate the correction with their behavior but rather the behaivior of eratic humans, who are then not to be trusted. Avoiding situations in which the dog behaves badly in the first place, and create situations in which the dog will behave correctly and rewarded for are the only safe ways to deal with fear based aggression. You are quite right in the assesment that when he acts out it is the only behavior he knows for those situations so you need to teach him more appropriate behaviors not punish the inappropriate behavior, which generally leads to a acceleration in aggression not an abatement,


Guidelines on the Use of Punishment for Dealing with Behavior Problems in Animals
American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
Quote:
Punishment can suppress aggressive and fearful behavior when used effectively, but it may not change the underlying cause of the behavior. For instance, if the animal behaves aggressively due to fear, then the use of force to stop the fearful reactions will make the animal more fearful while at the same time suppressing or masking the outward signs of fear; (e.g., a threat display/growling). As a result, if the animal faces a situation where it is extremely fearful, it may suddenly act with heightened aggression and with fewer warning signs. In other words, it may now attack more aggressively or with no warning, making it much more dangerous
AGGRESSION BEGETS AGGRESSIONPunishment Can Increase Aggressive Behaviors

Keeping people and animals safe from your dog.

How to use Gentle Leader & Halti Head collars

CANINE STRESS SIGNS

Thinking the Way Animals Do

Last edited by Mikey T; 03-15-2010 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I hope you will persevere with your Basset because they are just the best dogs in the world, so affectionate and gentle.... just look on YouTube and see some Bassets with very young babies. When my kids were babies and in those soft cradle seat thingys, my Bassets at the time would sit like bookends either side of them and all the Bassets I have had have all been as soft.

I feel that given time and patience, you will improve the situation for both of you and often when dogs are rehomed, I think it takes them time to settle in and realise that they have found their forever home and are not going to be pushed elsewhere! It's probably his nervousness and insecurity causing him to nip as they're not aggressive by nature... completely opposite in my years of owning them and knowing lots more belonging to friends!

Good luck... and I think that with you posting on here, other people's replies will give you the confidence to keep persevering and your dog will feel much more secure and confident. Here's one of my two soft Bassets....


Last edited by SophieB; 03-15-2010 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Just quick update for those who are wondering, for now B.Basset stays. Its taken him most of the day to settle into peaceful contentment instead of watchful, mournfulness. Hounds do that so well and bassets maybe best.

He will with a 5 minute or so game of "mouth it" allow me to put the muzzle on him. I have done so twice today, seems like enough for one day.

He is back to sucking on the lead snap and collar ring, but will allow me to use the lead to pull it out of his mouth and to the back of his neck where he can't reach it. Lots of praise for each time of course.

He's had a brief few minutes in the same room as the poodle. I got about 30 seconds of being able to pat both before the stillness and staring started between them. So I sent the poodle to bed and Bailey to find supper in his crate. Again lots of praise while they were wagging at each other.

W. the guy who B.Basset nipped took the time to make up today and B. was prepared to wag and let him. He was however unsettled by this guy's tendency to look at him directly in the eyes. Today he listened when I asked him to back off. Gee I wonder why?

Thank you all again for helping me find the balance between the emotions and logic and make a sensible choice.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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[quote=. He was however unsettled by this guy's tendency to look at him directly in the eyes. [/quote]

It looks like you have found a trigger and something you can work on, I have one most peaceable laid back mush hound that will not tollerate such behavior especially form hearding breeds in which it is prevelent.

Staring eye to eye in dog lanquage is taken as a serious threatening gester. you can work on this through desensitiving and counter-conditioning as you have started. You are aslo smart to recognise in dog, v dog agrression it takes two dogs, if one was willing to back down earlier the other would not react. This is not meant to diminish the role of a dog with a quick or hair triger just to point out there is a behavior on the part of the other dog that is a trigger finding that trigger is an imporant step in solving the problem. Keeping a note book to document incidents is a good way to pinpoint triggers as well.

Good luck. Just keep in mind it is a long term project and he may never be ready for adoption.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slbj.mouse View Post
Just quick update for those who are wondering, for now B.Basset stays. Its taken him most of the day to settle into peaceful contentment instead of watchful, mournfulness. Hounds do that so well and bassets maybe best.

He will with a 5 minute or so game of "mouth it" allow me to put the muzzle on him. I have done so twice today, seems like enough for one day.

He is back to sucking on the lead snap and collar ring, but will allow me to use the lead to pull it out of his mouth and to the back of his neck where he can't reach it. Lots of praise for each time of course.

He's had a brief few minutes in the same room as the poodle. I got about 30 seconds of being able to pat both before the stillness and staring started between them. So I sent the poodle to bed and Bailey to find supper in his crate. Again lots of praise while they were wagging at each other.

W. the guy who B.Basset nipped took the time to make up today and B. was prepared to wag and let him. He was however unsettled by this guy's tendency to look at him directly in the eyes. Today he listened when I asked him to back off. Gee I wonder why?

Thank you all again for helping me find the balance between the emotions and logic and make a sensible choice.
Dogs, especially Basset Hounds, are pretty sensitive and can often detect 'shady' characters and can tell when someone doesn't like them so I wonder if it's best for your friend not to make eye to eye contact with your Basset for the time being, thus avoiding your Basset feeling 'threatened' by your friend when he's eyeballing him.

Very often dogs can react to people who are nervous of them as I'm sure they give off vibes that the dog can easily pick up and it unnerves the dog and it may react in a different way... they can also become protective of their owners if they are uncertain of someone they encounter!

Keep up the good work with lots of praise when it's deserved and I'm sure all will be well for you and your poodle!
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