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Discussion Starter #1
I'm writing this for advice on a biting situation. Just for some background, I am a first time dog owner. I adopted Bogie this past July from a rescue. He will be two in a couple of weeks. I was told he was turned in because the owners didn't want to take care of his legs, because he is bowlegged. Since November, he has bit 4 people. Three of them broke skin, two requiring a tetanus shot, the most recent one requiring many stitches. Last night was the only one I was actually in the room for and saw what happened. Every time he has tried to bite someone, it has been when the person has startled him while being asleep, whether it was running into the room he was sleeping in, trying to pull a blanket out from under him, or last night, moving him over on the bed a little bit. I move him when sleeping all the time, and he has never once snapped at me, but it seems that when someone else does, he doesn't like it. None of these were strangers either. Last night it was my mother, and he sleeps in her bed all the time when I visit home, she (used to) spoil him rotten. I've also noticed that all four of these times he has not been in his domain. It has always been when I've been visiting home, a family members house, or when I went away for a week and a boarder took care or him.

I really don't know what to do about this. I don't know if the rescue or the people who turned him in did not mention the biting so he would not be put down or easier to adopt about. I do plan on calling the rescue once I am back home. I start obedience training with him in about a week, and I plan on asking the trainer there also. I obviously can't let this continue and it breaks my heart to think about what I may have to do.

I suppose a simple solution is to not let anyone else touch him when he is asleep, but I'm not always there to stop it. And it isnt that he snaps every time he is bothered when asleep. Most of the time when asleep, if someone comes near him, he opens up an eye to see who it is, then rolls over to be pet.

If anyone has any advice on what I should do, please share it.
 

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I adopted Moe from a shelter when he was approx. seven to nine months old. He was such a cutie that I fell in love with him and, though it took some fanagling I finally made him mine. Then we found out that my cutie-pie was a biter. One of his 'biting issues' was that he would snap and bite if we woke him or touched him while he was sleeping. We took him to a trainer when he was healthy enough to be among other dogs. After we dealt with his more serious domination biting issue we discussed his problem of biting us if we disturbed his sleep. Our trainer told us that there is a reason for the saying "Let sleeping dogs lie". Her advice was to NEVER touch him while he was sleeping. If we wanted to wake him up for any reason we were to call to him loudly to wake him up, making sure that he was fully awake before approaching him. If he fell asleep on the couch in the evening before I could get him into his crate, I'd call to him, then when he was awake I'd verbally (and sternly) order him off the couch. Only THEN would I pet him, praise him, and tell him to "go home" (our way of saying go into your crate). We told our kids the same thing... NEVER touch him while he was sleeping. We also supervised guests in the house, always instructing kids who were sleeping over not to touch him at all, and why. Eventually he got a whole lot better about it. Today I can kiss him, hug him, and even move him while he is sleeping and all I get is a complaining grumble. I don't know why some dogs get snappy. Perhaps it's instinctual? Or a trust issue? I don't know but I DO KNOW you can fix it, or at least control it.

Don't give up on Bogie. By all means discuss it with your obedience trainer... they may have other tips for you. In the meantime, your own quick fix of telling others not to touch him while sleeping WILL work. Be sure to tell ANYONE and EVERYONE who might tocuch him or be left alone with him . Tell them about waking him verbally if they need to. If there are very young children around who won't understand, he should be crated or somehow kept separated from them. It is a very disturbing problem with potentially serious consequesnces but it can be overcome. Good luck!
 

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I adopted Moe from a shelter when he was approx. seven to nine months old. He was such a cutie that I fell in love with him and, though it took some fanagling I finally made him mine. Then we found out that my cutie-pie was a biter. One of his 'biting issues' was that he would snap and bite if we woke him or touched him while he was sleeping. We took him to a trainer when he was healthy enough to be among other dogs. After we dealt with his more serious domination biting issue we discussed his problem of biting us if we disturbed his sleep. Our trainer told us that there is a reason for the saying "Let sleeping dogs lie". Her advice was to NEVER touch him while he was sleeping. If we wanted to wake him up for any reason we were to call to him loudly to wake him up, making sure that he was fully awake before approaching him. If he fell asleep on the couch in the evening before I could get him into his crate, I'd call to him, then when he was awake I'd verbally (and sternly) order him off the couch. Only THEN would I pet him, praise him, and tell him to "go home" (our way of saying go into your crate). We told our kids the same thing... NEVER touch him while he was sleeping. We also supervised guests in the house, always instructing kids who were sleeping over not to touch him at all, and why. Eventually he got a whole lot better about it. Today I can kiss him, hug him, and even move him while he is sleeping and all I get is a complaining grumble. I don't know why some dogs get snappy. Perhaps it's instinctual? Or a trust issue? I don't know but I DO KNOW you can fix it, or at least control it.

Don't give up on Bogie. By all means discuss it with your obedience trainer... they may have other tips for you. In the meantime, your own quick fix of telling others not to touch him while sleeping WILL work. Be sure to tell ANYONE and EVERYONE who might tocuch him or be left alone with him . Tell them about waking him verbally if they need to. If there are very young children around who won't understand, he should be crated or somehow kept separated from them. It is a very disturbing problem with potentially serious consequesnces but it can be overcome. Good luck![/b]
 

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Whoa!
The problems are human, not the Basset!
I am 59 and have many of my families champion Black Labs up in your part of the country. I have a Basset as well and understand them too. If you are considering doing anything to the innocent Hound then you just post your intentions and I will fly to New York and pick him up and give him a super excellent home and life!
Shakerag
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Whoa!
The problems are human, not the Basset!
I am 59 and have many of my families champion Black Labs up in your part of the country. I have a Basset as well and understand them too. If you are considering doing anything to the innocent Hound then you just post your intentions and I will fly to New York and pick him up and give him a super excellent home and life!
Shakerag[/b]
I'm not even remotely close to giving him up, he is the love of my life. This was a post for advice on how to fix the issue, not finding him a new home.
 

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I adopted Stomps when he was approximately 3-5 years old, and after about 8 months of being in my house he developed aggression problems with my other dog, Lightning. (I doubt if the rescue knew anything about him biting--usually dogs don't display the type of behavior you describe until they've lived somewhere long enough to establish it--and the people they live with--as their territory.) While the circumstances surrounding your case and mine differ, the root problem does not: Your dog thinks he's at the top of the heirarchy, and he can push everyone around. Your trainer should be able to help you, but in the meantime, here are some things you can implement to get your dog's behavior in check. First of all, don't let him sleep in anyone's bed. That causes more dominance problems than just about anything I've seen. With Stomps, I can't even let him sit in a chair with me, because he becomes very jealous if Lightning approaches. Have your mother, your kids, everyone who comes in contact with the dog on a regular basis put him through his obedience paces. In essence, you're putting him in his place, which is below all the people he comes in contact with. That will help with his dominance issues. If he is biting because he's being startled, then also do as Terry advised. But I think it's a combination of dominance and fear.
 

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The Hound is re-acting in fear from what he perceives as a threat.
I have seen that before from new moms and we always made sure they heard our voices before disturbing them, that worked for us.
shakerag
 

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I didn't get the impression that Mahna was giving up... just that she was frustrated and seeking advice that might help till she begins obedience training, which should be very helpful. She sounds to me like a person willing to find a solution to Bogie's recent trouble.

Mahna, I wouldn't be too hard on the rescue where you got him. Since he doesn't react badly every time, it's possible they never saw this side of his personality in the time he spent with them. I don't believe any rescue group would willingly or knowingly place a possibly dangerous dog with an unknowing family. I think you're handling this correctly so far, with a plan to get help, and a request for advice from others who may have soem experience with this problem. I tell you that there is hope for a good outcome. With patience, persistence, time, and help from a professional trainer Bogie can become a model member of your family. Don't get discouraged.

(Mahna - I'm assuming that you're a 'she'? :eek: If, not, I'm sorry and reverse all gender references! ;) )
 

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The Hound is re-acting in fear from what he perceives as a threat.
I have seen that before from new moms and we always made sure they heard our voices before disturbing them, that worked for us.[/b]
I would not make that assumption. It may or not may be the case. Many resourse guarders and other dogs are touch sensitive, Jean Donaldson in MINE! A GUIDE TO RESOURCE GUARDING IN DOGS lay out a step by step process to contercondition touch sensitivity. From a Review of the book by Kate Connick
Anal retentive to a fault (and I mean that as a compliment in this context), Donaldson does an excellent job of breaking down forms of resource guarding behavior into detailed, progressive increments. In order to teach a dog to accept having its mouth opened, for example, she lists 60 separate steps - beginning with touching the dog's rump for a single second. It takes 27 steps before one even touches the dog's head.

Clearly, this is not a book for someone who wants a quick fix to their problem. It requires a food-motivated dog and an extremely dedicated and talented owner with the patience and perseverance to apply the technique. [/url]

THe problem here is clearly the dog has no bite inhibition. Unfortunately it is not something dogs can usually be taught later on in life. That means if the dog is put in situations in which it feels it is necessary to defend itself. It will Bite and it will bite in an injurious manner. That makes the dog dangerious. You must realize this in all situations with the dog, Personnally I would avoid any contact with childern even supervised because both the dog and kids are unpredictable. This goes the same stranger etc. When friends or guest are over you need a secure location like a crate for Him.

The first step in solving the problem is preventing in the first place, Because the behavior is self rewarding. In a word biting works.


Any one can speculate all they want on the cause of the problem but without actualing seeong the dog in is at best a shot in the dark. Consult with a professional that can observe the dog and its reaction to the suroundings, and can formulate a plan to reduce the risk. That said given the bite history of the dog, There will always be some risk and you need to manage that as well it it can be rather burdensome at time.

Not that you are plan this but euthanasia is not the worst alternative. With the litgious world we live in, trying to rehome a dog that is a known biter is a lawsuit waiting to happen even if you do make full disclosure. There are some dogs that just will not be able to over come their past. It does not make you a bad person, trainer, owner if in the end it is the best option.
 

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Unfortunately with rescue dogs it is difficult to know a complete history about them most of the time. When I began to foster Lena we knew she had been abused. :angry: When I startled her awake she came up snapping and growling then got out of the way real quick. After haveing her for six months she no longer reacts this way to being woken up. She knows my intentions are never to harm her. The thing I can't get by is her hatred for men. I won't get into that it isn't what the thread is about. The thing about this is you need to know if your dog's reaction is from fear,dominance,or true aggression. Who ever your dog sees as alpha will usually not get this treatment from him. You may want to incorporate a trainer now to see if you can get this undercontrol. Like someone said ,Euthanasia is not the worst that could happen, being rehomed where someone else could be bitten or even start to abuse the dog because of the bitting, is a worst case scenario. :(
 

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Have you taken him to the vet? If you have did they check his thyroid levels? Dogs whose thyroid levels are out of sorts will become aggressive suddenly and they hadn't been before.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I went to the vet today to talk to him about the biting and what he suggests. His vet tech is training to be an animal behaviorist, and she took him for a while and evaluated him or something...I wasn't in the room for that. She didn't think it was a dominance issue, and that the events seem somewhat unrelated. He also didn't think it was a thyroid issue. They both recommended not disturbing him when he is sleeping except from across the room or leave a lease on him when he is sleeping and wake him up from that, especially if I am not around. They also recommended me taking him to some group at Cornell that has licenses vets that are also behaviorists and see what they say. So for now I'm just going to start obediance as planned, try my hardest not to startle Bogie, and call up the behaviorist that was recommended to me, though its a couple of hours away. Hopefully they will know someone good that is closer to where I am.

Thanks for your help.
 

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My Lily ocassionally growls or snaps when we wake her up. She hasn't done this in a long while. Like others have stated above whenever we need to wake our dogs up now we call their name loudly and clap to get their attention. Only once they are fully awake do we touch them. Good luck.

~Heather
 
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