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Appologies for the length of this beforehand.

So the past couple of Fridays have been quite the experience with my little guy.

Last friday, we are eating dinner. We finish and then I realize that we ate an entire meal without Randolph and Mortimer in our face. Uh oh, the dreaded quiet house! When the house is quiet, you know that they are up to no good. So I look out in the back yard and see Randolph with something in his mouth and Morty hovering over him. At first I think they stole a dish rag and ran outside with it.

I go outside and find that the slow little fatty has managed to catch a pigeon. How he did this I have no idea. As I walk toward him, he instantly lifts his head and begins chugging down the bird, the only thing visible is a leg dangling from his mouth. The rest he has halfway down his throat. I put on some gloves and go to attempt to wrangle the bird away from him. He is in total lock jaw mode, I squeeze my fingers in and after squeezing pigeon head in between my fingers a few times, I fight the desire to heave and find the spot in the back of his mouth that makes his bear trap open up. He yaks up the slimy, still twitching pigeon.

As I go to grab it, he freaks and totally goes feral on me. He latches onto my arm screaming bloody murder. I get him on the ground and lay on top of him trying to get him to calm down. The 40 pound monster, with his eyes nearly bulging out of his head continues to scream, flop and bite at me. Finally I let him up afraid that he is going to hurt himself fighting with me. As I get up, he latches onto my other arm still in full attack mode.

So there I am standing in my back yard with a screaming banshee attached to my forearm trying to rip it off. At this point I am in full self defense mode. Luckily I heard a scream from the little lady telling me no, because I realized I had Randolph up in the air, ready to launch him across the yard. Snapped out of my anger I put him down grab the pigeon and toss it away. Once the pigeon is gone, I look down at my wild beast. There he is wagging his tail like nothing ever happened.

I look at my arms, no blood is drawn, but there are several deep indentions and blood spots under my skin. The next day my arms are black and blue from my battle with the beast. Randolph was just a ok and could not figure out why his daddy wanted nothing to do with him for the next couple of days. He moped around all weekend because I was ignoring him.

He's never shown any aggression towards me prior, and eventually I chalked it up to wild instict coming through from his first kill, but I was pretty shaken up by the whole thing. Not because my arms hurt, but because I was so close to really hurting my best little buddy. Thank god Elizabeth was there to snap me out of it before I did.

Anyone have any experience with something like this? I'm sure I did several things wrong in the way I handled this. Was my mistake in trying to take the bird away from him to begin with? Was his reaction to having it taken away from him something I should worry about, or was it just pure animal instinct that took over? Prior to this, he hasnt ever been anywhere near this aggressive or territorial.

We had another adventure this past Friday night that I will share (not related to him going feral) but since this has turned out to be so long, I'll create a seperate thread.
 

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I have seen inklings of this in Winston. I am so glad to hear that both you and Randolph are fine. Interested to hear what others say about this event. I am sure MikeyT will offer some of his extremely valuable wisdom.
 

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Wow!

I always thought that the Basset by instinct they were trackers and did not have a tendancy to go after the prey.....At least that is what the Basset books I have read said.
 

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I'm so glad you are ok. But I have to admit it makes me glad I have a 'girl' doggie. But then, she might do the same thing. I dunno. I hope this doesn't happen again to you!
 

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cousin lulu was an accomplished hunter.
never had to wrangle her prey from her tho.
she was seen once wound up the trunk of a red tip phontina trying to get to a bird's nest about five feet up. her little hind paws were tiptoeing the groung under her, just barely touching. that crazy hound actually climbed a freakin' tree to get to a bird.
 

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I think some "leave it" and "drop it" training could definitely be useful here. Not just to be able to get something out of his mouth but to show that *you* are the one that decides when he does and doesn't get a treat.
 

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Simone picked up something when we were out walking a couple days. I couldn't see what she had gotten so I pulled her mouth open, told her drop it, and out drops a petrified dead mouse!! She gave it up willingly but my illusions that my baby girl is a basset princess were shattered, she's an animal ;).
 

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Anyone have any experience with something like this? I'm sure I did several things wrong in the way I handled this. Was my mistake in trying to take the bird away from him to begin with?
I would Not say that, But when taking anything away you always need to consider are the consequence of letting the dog keep the object worse than possible consequences of keeping it. Given the nature of bird to carry so nasty harmful diseases I would never say that it was wrong to attempt to take the bird away. But it would have been a leat easier if you had work on making exchanges with other objects including heavily desired ones steaks etc successful under more controlled situation first. Quite clearly if you had not attempted to take the bird you would not have suffered any injuries, but that is not the whole story, what are/were the potential injuries and risk to the dog if it had eaten the bird, which are greater. That is what in the end it comes down too. I have owned dogs I would not have given a second thought to taking the bird and other I would have never in a million years concidered trying to take it away.


Ok so lets look at the second part
I get him on the ground and lay on top of him trying to get him to calm down. The 40 pound monster, with his eyes nearly bulging out of his head continues to scream, flop and bite at me.
I know it makes sense at the time physically controlling the dog but look at it from the dogs prespective afte removing the bird your know starting to squisheh the dog and fight with him. The question is if some big fella were to hold you down and wrestle with you, and you are unclear on his intention would you simply calm down or fight back. That is the point here. while not all dogs, clearly the majority of dog will fight back. So you need to consider this when exculating situation with a dog are you ready to fight to the death because the dog may be.

The way to calm a dog is is become super calm yourself getting physical with the dog is more than likely going to amp up the problem. The good thing is the dog actual showed restraint in that there were no hard {breaking the skin bites} i know it did not seem like that at the time but the dog was restraining himself he could of done a lot more damage.

He's never shown any aggression towards me prior, and eventually I chalked it up to wild instict coming through from his first kill, but I was pretty shaken up by the whole thing. Not because my arms hurt, but because I was so close to really hurting my best little buddy

Thank god Elizabeth was there to snap me out of it before I did.
It is inportant to understand how you got to that point is the same way the dog did. You now have time to pre plan , what would you do differently, what training would help , When should you back away? IF you have a plan at the start it is less likely things will go awry even in the heat of the moment,

I chalked it up to wild instict coming through from his first kill,
It is not clear the dog was doing anything other than playing with the bird and it was not until you came out and looked like you were going to that it that the dog attempte to eat it. I don't thing this has anything to do with blood lust etc. He most certainly was resource guarding and working on that aspect exchanges and such can help but one has to be realistic as well. Exchanging toys has it limits when compare to steak or more desired object. You need to work up slowly working exchanges with more desireable things, and not simply in the house but outside etc. Also keep in mind how you reacted with the dog like with extra force is going to amp the dog up as well past the point where the dog is thinking. It is simply acting on emotion, So in that vain yes he is acting feral or wild because the fight or Fight instinct has kicked in.

The OverStimulated Hyper Dog
Emotional reactions originate in the limbic part of the brain, which allows for fast-acting response to events based on quick impressions. Survival depends on quickness of response — allowing you to notice and duck when you catch a glimpse of a fast-moving object about to fall on your head.
Limbic over-rides cognitive. When an animal is in a state of adrenalin arousal from fear, defense, excitement or just plain sensory overload, he not only doesn't listen, he can't hear you. It does no good to repeat "sit sit sit" to a dog who is on emotional overload. He isn't thinking, he is simply reacting to the stimuli around him. He must tune-in and re-connect with you before he will be able to hear what you have to say. You must be able to get his attention first, before you tell him what you would like him to do.
Studies have show that dog can and will act agressivly to pain and aggression especally at those they percieve as causing it even if that is not the case
Shock Collars


The Use of Punishment for Behavior Modification in Animals


Punishment can facilitate or even cause aggressive behavior. Punishment has been shown to increase the likelihood of aggressive behavior in many species. Animals in which the punishment does not immediately suppress the behavior may escalate in their efforts to avoid the punishment to the point where they become aggressive. Those who already show aggressive behavior may exhibit more intense and injurious aggressive behaviors.
and that is the point the emotion of the situation elevated you both to operating on emotion and not thinking. When you raise up the aggression level it has the same effect on him as his rising aggression had on you. You both have some work to go to gain each others trust back. Keep in mind how an individual dog will react we don't know but since you live with the dog and know his tendencies and personality but it is not unexpected that in a similar situation ie you try and remove something he has through force that he will react agggressively even more quickly .

So the bottom lime is this Yes it is like the agression was at least somewhat based on resource guarding and as such working on exercise like swapping should provide more oppurtunity to have a successful exchange without the use of physical force. WHEN you use of physical force like force the jaws apart etc, no one can say for sure how an individual dog will react until it has occured many times and the dogs reaction is consitent. Some will accept it ,others will not. Beside the physical act, there are extenuating circumstance that can exaserbate the situation, the humans emotion, calm vs frenzied, anxious, scared how in demeanor the dog is approached and handled, sofly, calm vs rough, fast and hard. The dogs react will factor these in as well. That is walk slow toward the dog in a circling not head on manor slow, vs a brick walk straigth ahead while staring at the dog are going to cause the dog to behave diferently. Act like a threat and the dog will percieve you as one. act like a friend and the will as well. If you find yourself in a situation with a dog and you loss your head/mind it is safe to assume the dog is in the same state. Nothing good happens from there.

as his reaction to having it taken away from him something I should worry about, or was it just pure animal instinct that took over?
As we see above that instinctive reaction ie the emotional limbic side of the brain was at work but because that was the case does not make it any less troublesome. The question boils down to this, what the likelihood of another incidents of resource guarding ? Past history can provide clues. What is the likelihood of a similar or other resource guarding situation actually occuring. IF he only guards pidgeon cathing another pidgeon depending on the dogs skill level is proabably pretty low.. Can you manage the situation differently to create a better out come, such as dog willing give up resource or dog begrudgingly gives up resource but does not go over the top. Those are the question you need to ask yourself and act on accordinly. Is working on this the best use of dog time?

Also keep in mind unless actively worked against resource guarding is self rewarding and gets progressively worse over time.
 

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:eek:

Wow, that's a basset adventure that goes down in the books!
sorry you had to go through that.

Worm goes "feral" on me when my head is lower than his (weird huh? but true), like when he's on the bed and I'm laying on the ground. and after baths during the Basset 500. sometimes i'm not quite sure what he's going to do... bite my head? hasn't yet, but not sure i'd completely put it past him. i know what you mean by this "feral" thing... scary sometimes.

Worm knows the "drop it" command pretty well, and he will come to me for doggie sausages and drop sticks, leaves, rocks. hmmm, but would he trade it for super high value items like a steak or a piece of game.... i would doubt it. haha, he won't always trade "kitty roca" either. he'll just sit there and chew it, staring at the doggie sausage, savoring the delicious flavor of cat poop.

hope this adventure you had doesn't happen again real soon.
 

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also could have been aggrivated by the other dog being there initially. Daisy, my beagle, is insane with food. She KNOWS drop it, but will gobble it faster if she can, unless i'm too close, then she'll drop and run. Bowser will try to gobble if daisy is trying to get it. He's alpha, actually. Has been since he was a few months old *lol* she will usually leave him alone if he growls, which i try not to let him do...or let her annoy him into doing...but I noticed for a while there if i didn't monitor them he was starting to get quite nasty with her trying to take his things. I scold, and then keep her away from him when he has a treat or food or something, and he has totally regained his loving demeanor. But, he hasn't been around like...prey, either. Or something he really REALLY wanted. I haven't tried to take anything from him like that.

I've had a beagle in the past that was very aggressive with food items or something she found. She used to catch lizards, try to eat mice, or random things she shouldn't and she would do the SAME thing.. like, snap and snarl and freak out, until the item was tOTALLY gone, then she was sorry, and all apologetic with kisses!
 
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