I've written here before, although rarely. I tend to write novels like the one that follows…
My B is a biter.
Here's a brief history for those who don't care to find my old threads... :p
Tucker was a foster child from an early age. Apparently placed with people who don't know B's. He was in and out of foster homes, three of them, at the age of about 4-10 months. Noone knows the history prior to that. Then he was adopted by a couple in Chicago. They told me he was a good dog, never biting or anything like that UNTIL they moved to Boston and the mom got pregnant. Tucker then bit two children (because the children ran at him waving arms and whatnot) and also bit the daddy. I imagine he was protective of the pregnant mother. They feared that Tucker would bite the child, so they, too, put him up for adoption.
Along comes me, who adopts Tucker from BRAT (and Tuckers 5th home upset) and Tucker came home to Virginia. The first 4 months with him were hell. Peeing all over the place, lack of discipline, etc. We all know how our B's can be. During the year that I've had him, two main things have happened. 1) Tucker has bitten 10 people now and a number of dogs and 2) he and I have 'come to terms'. He's an amazing pet to me and my roommate and people that are 'properly introduced', but outside of the house, he bites randomly. One guy or girl or dog he warms up to almost instantly, the next he snaps as soon as they are in range. The triggers are certainly not obvious nor are they consistent. I imagine it has a lot to do with what type of person or dog it is that Tucker is 'meeting'. He's an equal opportunity biter - guys, girls, male dogs and female dogs. No apparent pattern aside from guys get a bite moreso than girls.
I spoke with a trainer for almost an hour yesterday about dog behavior and whatnot. I told her Tucker's entire story and she concluded that Tucker was, in fact, a biter. She said with his background, it's really not surprising. Even dogs have their limits. She said that, rather than trying to train him out of biting, that I should simply MANAGE his biting and keep him out of those situations. She said that, like humans, a dog will eventually reach that point of no return where they are 'set in their ways'. I asked her if a muzzle and socialization was appropriate and she said absolutely NOT. Her reasoning was that, based on his history, putting him in a dog/people rich environment with a muzzle on would be further triggering his bahavior because he would feel even MORE defenseless in that situation, knowing he couldn't protect himself or his dad. Her opininon was that this would only make matters worse for him. For the record, Tucker has never 'attacked' anyone. He's only reacted to situations where people approached him. I have always been wary and warned people who wanted to 'say hi' about his behavior, but sometimes these situations just HAPPEN, similarly to a car accident, for lack of better comparison. You just can't ALWAYS see the signs and react in time. I think there is a post in here somewhere where I listed out all the individual incidents and if you can find it, you'll see that almost every situation was unique, and almost half of the bites occurred with my walker or when I wasn't present (one involved my roommate bringing her BF's kid over and not telling me, the kid was messin' with Tucker and got bit for it - and I'm sure my roommate didn't bother to do a proper intro because, simply stated, she's was an idiot). I have a new roommate now.
So, this leads to my question: Do my fellow B lovers agree or disagree with his diagnosis? No health problems with this dog at all, including hyperthyroid. Just a rocky past with potential abuse (his tail was pulled or broken off sometime prior to the previous owner's adoption of him).
I saw that Cesar Milan is taking submissions from my area for the Dog Whisperer and is specifically looking for overly aggressive dogs. I'm thinking about submitting my story and seeing what they have to say. I read that B's are thought to be the 2nd dumbest dog in the entire world (behind the Afghan). I disagree with this 100%, of course, as we all would. My secondary question to Cesar would be "Can you train the untrainable?".
Yeah, you can teach a B to take a leak outside and to not eat your furniture, but can you truly train a B to simply come when you call 100% of the time? To give that guests dirty sock or pair of thongs back? Why does he ONLY listen to me (and my roommate) and pretty much ignore EVERYONE else? Do I really HAVE to teach EVERYONE how to command him and let EVERYONE take the dominant position with him in order to get him to mind them equally? I truly know that B's are unique, by breed, but does that mean that all B's choose to answer your call or not?
The trainer told me that dogs lack the frontal lobe with houses the capacity to reason. If a dog can associate sitting or playing dead with a treat, why the hell can't they associate biting with being 'bad'? My dad, who raised three B's back in the 'old days', said that when his B acted up, he beat the crap out of it and the behavior ceased. We all know this is wrong wrong WRONG, but it worked for him...
For the record, I don't hit Tucker and refuse to do so.