Biting…A short novel by TuckerVA:
Okay, so I've been reading through the forums about biting and nipping and I've yet to see one where anyone's B bites like mine. Not a source of pride, mind you...
As I've stated in threads a while back, mine was a BRAT adoption. I knew before I adopted him that he had bitten a 14yo kid with his past family, but I never knew the details. I learned the details early with Tucker. He stole a sock and I pinned him and took it away from him about 2 days after I brought him home and I'm now missing a chunk of my right inner forearm (yes, scarred for life now...boo hoo!). :rolleyes: It was almost instantaneous...the recollection of a conversation with his previous owner about giving the dog a treat to get stolen articles away from him. His biting went unpunished but I was also thinking "why in the hell would I want to treat my dog for stealing things I didn't want him to?". Eventually we came to terms. However....
Since this event and in the past 10 months I've had him, he's bitten 9 PEOPLE! Me (lots of blood), 2 kids (no blood), the UPS guy (no blood), the neighbors dad's (a bit of blood), and three of my friends (some bloody, some not so much).
I've tried to make sense of this and can chaulk some up to him being startled, some defensive of his territory, etc. But on some occasions, he's snarly and really pissed. One moment you are playing nicely, the next he's in attack mode.
I haven't had a thyroid done because it's been so seldom (to me) that he loses his mind (methinks).
I'll try to explain each situation as I remember it. Maybe that will shed some light...
- Me, story told above.
- UPS guy. Walker was walking him and the UPS guy wanted to say hello. I wasn't there, but the UPS guy got a nip for his friendliness. I imagine this is just simply 'he's a stranger, I don't like him, he wears funny brown clothes'.
- Neighbor's dad. Tucker was with walker again. Walker around a corner and neighbors dad came out of condo in breezeway. Tucker rounded corner and was allegedly startled by a man standing there who subsequently bent over Tucker to say hello, and got bit for it. Mainly deep scratches. Neighbor's dad is stranger to Tucker.
- My buddy. I was helping a friend move and brought the dog along. We left him in an empty apartment while between places. My friend tried to push the dog back through the door as Tucker was trying to bolt. Got bit for it. Minor scratches, a bit of blood. Relationship wasn't established between the two of them. Friend was stranger to Tucker.
- Another buddy. My friend had been around only a few times but was scared to death of Tucker for whatever reason. He came over once and as soon as he came in the door, Tucker leaped off the sofa, ran to door in a flash, jumped up and bit his arm pretty hard. If my friend didn't have a jacket on, he would have lost some skin. I didn't see it happen it was so fast.
- My nephew-in-law, 7yo. Kid was told not to acknowledge the dog (to ignore him) and he didn't all weekend and there were no problems. However, the kid broke down once and started teasing the dog and got attacked. Just minor scratches, but I heard it from the other room and there was some serious snarling going on. I thought the kid was a dead man, but it was a case of volume over damage.
- Another friend. A female friend of mine was over who had a good relationship with Tucker. Pretty long one as well. They've been around each other a LOT. So she was petting Tucker (she was standing, he was standing on sofa). When she stopped petting him, he snarled and bit her in the leg as she turned. No warning, no nothing. This one has me perplexed.
- My ex roommates friend/boyfriends' kid (mouthful, yes, I know). My roommate took the day off around Easter and hosted her man's kid to dye eggs. I don't know all the details, but the kid got bit. She's since moved out, and the stories I've heard are vague. My walker was there about to take Tucker out. Apparently, the kid was teasing with the dog, as she described it, but nothing to deserve getting bitten. Just running around. Tucker doesn't seem to like kids, and I understand that and am wary of it, but my roommate didn't tell me what was happening that day while I was at work. Note: My roomate was informed of his behavior around children REPEATEDLY.
- My new roommate and long time friend. After a couple weeks of living together, we got some take out food. My roommate placed his food on an ottoman and I told him not to do it because the dog might not respect him yet and may take his food or claim it as his own. So my roommate stood between the dog and the food and the dog persisted, so my roommate tried to push the dog away. I caught only the last second of this and before I could scream "NOOOOOOO!", Tucker bit his arm slightly. MY roommate went to push him away again and Tucker sank his teeth into my roommates thumb which should have gotten stitches. In hindsight, this could have been avoided by my roommate simply removing the food from the ottoman, but whodathunk it was going to happen? (I guy who's dog had already bitten 8 people...probably.) :rolleyes:It was a unique situation that I handn't experienced, so I was unprepared and until it happens, you can't warn someone off from a dog that's never exhibited food aggression previously.
With all of these unique situations, it's hard to find a pattern aside from that of general aggression toward strangers, a lack of proper socialization prior to adoption (the prev. owners told me he was 'their pup' and was not exposed to many visitors or other dogs), and just a downright ornery disposition sometimes. He'll growl at me now and again over things like the warm spot he's nested on the bed, but now that I've established myself as the boss or 'pack leader', he's easy to shut down with a harsh stare, showing my teeth, growling back or simply telling him to shut the heck up. Seems like the less a person is afraid of the dog, the more he respects you which is understandable after having read some stuff on it. Basically, I'm his boss and he's got total respect for me, but me alone - seemingly. My roommate has established this with Tucker as well.
I warn everyone who comes within 100 feet of him about his behavior and tell them to ignore him. If people do this, there's NEVER a problem and pretty soon, he's pining on total strangers for attention and lying in their laps. It's only the people who surprise him or that momentary lapse of judgement on my part that he's set off.
I WILL get him checked for hyperthyroid soon as it seems necessary at this point. I didn't previously because the previous owner did so after he bit the kid and Tuck tested fine.
However, perhaps the more experienced members here can provide some input? I don't think the hyperthyroid is going to unearth some miracle explanation to his behavior, but I'll let the vet determine that. This is a distinct character trait in this dog. With B's, I swear, if it's not one thing, it's another. Mine doesn't eat furniture or tear stuff up, he doesn't surf the counters, he isn't food aggressive but he'll bite the piss out of you if you cross him.
I'm thinking that it's a simple case of undersocialization combined with a distinct fear or wariness around strangers who have not established themselves to him. I can do anything I want with or to this dog without fear of the prior reprocussions that I learned the hard way initially and in the wake of establishing myself as THE ONLY man of the house. I would think a hyperthyroid disorder would extend to me as well given similar circumstances, no???