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I have just rescued an approx. 7 year old basset/beagle mix. we’ve had him for 3 weeks so it’s very early days.
He was in a ‘rescue shelter’ (not a term I or most others would use for the appalling place he came from) for most of his life. I’ve been told that dog fights (sometimes ending in death) were very common and he was caged in freezing conditions outside in Macedonia, where winters can get as low as -10 and with little food. He is covered in scars so I’m assuming he didn’t escape a nasty brawl or two.
I have some idea of what these conditions could manifest into if not managed or picked up quickly as I have experience of street dog rescues but I wanted to check in and see if I’m doing what others would agree are the right things as I’m not familiar with the specific breed. We are being advised not to take him to the vets until 4 weeks so we will get him checked over soon to rule out any medical issues.
As half expected, after settling in, he has had some instant behaviours start. I.e resource guarding of food and furniture but this is being corrected by not allowing him on sofas/furniture and generally positively rewarding wherever possible with treats, happy voices etc. and these behaviours are noticeably reducing.
The one issue I am concerned about is his apparent aggression towards other dogs when walking in areas busy with dogs ie the beach or park. I’ve obviously not let him close enough to see if it’s anything more but the noise he makes is terrifying! A real visceral growl/bark that I’ve not heard before.
I have a female rescue who he has been fine with (other than some initial growling) and have had guests with dogs come to stay and he’s been fine with those too. It’s specifically when there are lots of unknown dogs.
My thoughts are now that I expose him to these areas frequently but from a comfortable distance where he doesn’t react with lots of rewards and gradually get closer to the ‘thick of it’ as he reduces his reaction. I’m hoping that coming from an environment with lots of stressed/hungry dogs has meant that he has become very good at giving very clear warning signs when he’s scared and it is more a case of ‘don’t hurt me’ than ‘I want to hurt you’.
The only other minor issue I have is his nose drive! Whilst I have managed to get him to respond/recall at his name, he will not/cannot pay me any attention at all when he’s found a sniff to sniff and I just know that he would disappear on a forever chase given the chance! But reading some of the other comments it looks like that trait may well be here to stay! I would like to have him off lead with my other eventually so if anyone has any tips I would love to hear your advice.
All in all, considering what the poor little man has been through - he’s doing so well and whilst a huge part of me wants to hug him forever and tell him it’s all ok now, I have to remind myself not to feel too sorry for him or ignore his behaviours as they’ll only lead to more stress for him.
Thanks for any advice anyone can give.
Brown Dog Comfort Carnivore Wood
 

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What you mention is standard protocol for Counterconditioning that is to keep the dog below threshold while reinforcing,. If you are familiar with
'Calming Signals" these can be very telling on the stress level of the dog. You want the dog non-stressed not simply not acting out. If not familiar wiith calming signals a google search or the book dvd by the same name will be very helpful for CounterConditioning I would recommend The Cautious Canine-How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears: Patricia B. McConnell: 9781891767005: Amazon.com: Books it deals specifical the issue you have.

2. Is the behavior only on leash? say he is in a fenced yard and another dog walk by how does he react. If only while on leash then you have leash reactivity which is somewhat of a learned behavior and the interaction between dog and handler,. So handled somewhat differently than above. From Crazy To Calm: A Training Plan For Leash Reactivity

3. The most important thing you did not mention Is whether the dog has any bite inhibition,. If and when he reacts aggressively and does bite what if any damage does he cause.. This is the number one guide on how successful behavior rehab can be, Simply put A dog that causes damage is significantly less likely to be reconditioned than one that causes damage. simply because ethically what you can do in training/;behavior is severely limited because of the harm the dog can do.

4. resource guarders are also typically touch sensitive. You want to keep that in mind with stranger and is something else you might need to work on besides food. training and off command to get the dog off furniture etc without physical confrontation. If you do not have Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs: Jean Donaldson: 9780970562944: Amazon.com: Books is the best resource of resource guarding in dogs.

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he only other minor issue I have is his nose drive! Whilst I have managed to get him to respond/recall at his name, he will not/cannot pay me any attention at all when he’s found a sniff to sniff and I just know that he would disappear on a forever chase given the chance! But reading some of the other comments it looks like that trait may well be here to stay!
That is a high level distraction for a scent hound and something that will require a lot of training to overcome, If you want to embark on that I would say it needs to be secondary to the more pressing behavioral issues,. but Susan Garretts only line recallers course is going to be your best bet Susan Garrett’s Recallers Online Dog Training Program - DogsThat and there is also Really Reliable Recall - Train Your Dog To Come When Called... No Matter What! Dvd You may need another work for "come" because of past history It might be a lot easier to train a new non posioned cue than try and untaint a posioned one. Most people tend to poison recalls by calling the dog to them to do stuff the dog does not want to do. So the dog associates being called with bad stuff happening,.

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I have to remind myself not to feel too sorry for him or ignore his behaviours
This is why in general rescue dogs tend to be more ill tempered and dangerous than dogs sourced elsewhere. While training a dog with such a history you will want to rely on positive reinforcement,. But Positive does not mean Permissive,.
 

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What you mention is standard protocol for Counterconditioning that is to keep the dog below threshold while reinforcing,. If you are familiar with
'Calming Signals" these can be very telling on the stress level of the dog. You want the dog non-stressed not simply not acting out. If not familiar wiith calming signals a google search or the book dvd by the same name will be very helpful for CounterConditioning I would recommend The Cautious Canine-How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears: Patricia B. McConnell: 9781891767005: Amazon.com: Books it deals specifical the issue you have.

2. Is the behavior only on leash? say he is in a fenced yard and another dog walk by how does he react. If only while on leash then you have leash reactivity which is somewhat of a learned behavior and the interaction between dog and handler,. So handled somewhat differently than above. From Crazy To Calm: A Training Plan For Leash Reactivity

3. The most important thing you did not mention Is whether the dog has any bite inhibition,. If and when he reacts aggressively and does bite what if any damage does he cause.. This is the number one guide on how successful behavior rehab can be, Simply put A dog that causes damage is significantly less likely to be reconditioned than one that causes damage. simply because ethically what you can do in training/;behavior is severely limited because of the harm the dog can do.

4. resource guarders are also typically touch sensitive. You want to keep that in mind with stranger and is something else you might need to work on besides food. training and off command to get the dog off furniture etc without physical confrontation. If you do not have Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs: Jean Donaldson: 9780970562944: Amazon.com: Books is the best resource of resource guarding in dogs.

5 That is a high level distraction for a scent hound and something that will require a lot of training to overcome, If you want to embark on that I would say it needs to be secondary to the more pressing behavioral issues,. but Susan Garretts only line recallers course is going to be your best bet Susan Garrett’s Recallers Online Dog Training Program - DogsThat and there is also Really Reliable Recall - Train Your Dog To Come When Called... No Matter What! Dvd You may need another work for "come" because of past history It might be a lot easier to train a new non posioned cue than try and untaint a posioned one. Most people tend to poison recalls by calling the dog to them to do stuff the dog does not want to do. So the dog associates being called with bad stuff happening,.

6 This is why in general rescue dogs tend to be more ill tempered and dangerous than dogs sourced elsewhere. While training a dog with such a history you will want to rely on positive reinforcement,. But Positive does not mean Permissive,.
What you mention is standard protocol for Counterconditioning that is to keep the dog below threshold while reinforcing,. If you are familiar with
'Calming Signals" these can be very telling on the stress level of the dog. You want the dog non-stressed not simply not acting out. If not familiar wiith calming signals a google search or the book dvd by the same name will be very helpful for CounterConditioning I would recommend The Cautious Canine-How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears: Patricia B. McConnell: 9781891767005: Amazon.com: Books it deals specifical the issue you have.

2. Is the behavior only on leash? say he is in a fenced yard and another dog walk by how does he react. If only while on leash then you have leash reactivity which is somewhat of a learned behavior and the interaction between dog and handler,. So handled somewhat differently than above. From Crazy To Calm: A Training Plan For Leash Reactivity

3. The most important thing you did not mention Is whether the dog has any bite inhibition,. If and when he reacts aggressively and does bite what if any damage does he cause.. This is the number one guide on how successful behavior rehab can be, Simply put A dog that causes damage is significantly less likely to be reconditioned than one that causes damage. simply because ethically what you can do in training/;behavior is severely limited because of the harm the dog can do.

4. resource guarders are also typically touch sensitive. You want to keep that in mind with stranger and is something else you might need to work on besides food. training and off command to get the dog off furniture etc without physical confrontation. If you do not have Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs: Jean Donaldson: 9780970562944: Amazon.com: Books is the best resource of resource guarding in dogs.

5 That is a high level distraction for a scent hound and something that will require a lot of training to overcome, If you want to embark on that I would say it needs to be secondary to the more pressing behavioral issues,. but Susan Garretts only line recallers course is going to be your best bet Susan Garrett’s Recallers Online Dog Training Program - DogsThat and there is also Really Reliable Recall - Train Your Dog To Come When Called... No Matter What! Dvd You may need another work for "come" because of past history It might be a lot easier to train a new non posioned cue than try and untaint a posioned one. Most people tend to poison recalls by calling the dog to them to do stuff the dog does not want to do. So the dog associates being called with bad stuff happening,.

6 This is why in general rescue dogs tend to be more ill tempered and dangerous than dogs sourced elsewhere. While training a dog with such a history you will want to rely on positive reinforcement,. But Positive does not mean Permissive,.
Thank you for this - it’s really helpful. I’ll have a look at your recommendations.
Regarding the off leash on leash - it’s quite difficult to tell at this stage as we live in a very rural area with no neighbours and I don’t want to risk letting him off lead when we are around other dogs in open public spaces. However he greeted our dog and the guest dogs on lead and other than a little growl here and there - no lunging or nipping or anything physical, it was nothing like the reaction we see when we’re amongst lots of dogs - not that he’s attempted to bite or lunge, it just the bark/growl and body language completely changes - although I haven’t let him close enough to find out if it’s a possibility. Also he can walk past one dog without issue but take exception to the next one - we thought possibly it was other male dogs as he was kennelled with two females previously without issues (apparently). But we had a male dog come over just this week and he was fine with an on lead introduction and off lead interaction. Possibly it’s the overstimulation of the busy environment coupled with the unknown dogs - he hasn’t so much as seen grass for most of his life so possibly a park and a beach full of people, smells, sounds and sights is all a bit much for him.
He hasn’t bitten at all since we’ve been with him and the rescue place have said that he was bullied and picked on by other dogs. I really think it’s a mixture of fear coupled with lots of potential stress triggers and I possibly need to tone it down a notch or 20! -
Our old dog picked up a piece of food the new one had dropped and he growled and barked frantically but instantly started trembling so I think he may have been anticipating a conflict.
My old dog was highly aggressive initially without any vocal warnings at all (she is luckily now an example of etiquette and good dog behaviour thanks to years of work and understanding - but being a collie mix - she was always much more responsive to voice commands and reward compared with this nose driven obsessive!) so in that respect I am able to observe this one much better as he is much more obvious - which should give us a better start. Thanks again for your help.
 

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"Our old dog picked up a piece of food the new one had dropped and he growled and barked frantically " I think there is a big difference between resource guarding with other dogs and resource guarding from humans.

" mixture of fear " fear is the driving cause of most aggression in dogs,

"My old dog was highly aggressive initially without any vocal warnings at all " makes for a very dangerous dog . Also why punishing a dog for growling is not a good idea

"she was always much more responsive to voice commands and reward compared with this nose driven obsessive!) " Basset tend to be much responsive to physical and contextual cues than verbal cue. but they are not harder to train if you understand their mindset and motivations and with scent hound 99% are perpetually hungry and of the 1% that are not 95% of the time it is because they are over fed. Food as reward generally has much higher value than praise or touch.

FWIW below is our Food guarding touch sensitive basset rescue. Which we found out later "if you had not taken her we were going to have to put her Down, never cured always potentially dangerous. I retrained her to growl. did not have proper bite inhibition so most situations need to be managed but the one thing SHE was good at was dog v dog relations she was incredibly savvy. In a multi dog household IRT ISA Easier to manage a dog that is aggressive toward humans than it is a dog aggressive toward other dogs.

 
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