If you are a breeder, behaviorist or know a behaviorist, please PM me. If not, you can skip this entire email...
I really need some personal advice on a dog who bites unpredictably. I'm looking for some behaviorist input and I'm hoping that some of the breeders here on the forums can help me or perhaps anyone who has information on reputable behaviorists in my area (Virginia). I'm assuming that this person would not want to travel excessively, so I presume names of folks in the MD, DC, VA, WV or PA area would be helpful.
I have posted on Tucker before. For the newer folks here, he's a BRAT adoption for me. He was rehomed 3 times in his first 6 months and during that time his tail was either torn off or cropped. I think it was torn off because of the way the tip of the bone sticks out of the end of it (although hidden by a tuft of fur). He then found a good home with a couple in Chicago. They had Tucker for 3.5 years. Then they moved to Boston and the wife got pregnant. It was at this point that Tucker started biting. He bit the husband once and a teen once so they abandoned Tucker to BRAT in fear of endangering their future child. Being single with no prospects and my own home, I took the challenge even after they told me he had bitten a few people. I think it's pertinant that the previous owner was, I think, not very social with Tucker regarding people or animals.
Now...I find myself married (almost a year now) and a new dog came into the picture along with my wife (a fat Old English Sheepdog who I loathe, but tolerate - they can't all be Basenji's, now can they?). No issues with the dogs, but Tucker has proven in the past 3 years that he is definately a biter. His biting is unpredictable and the count is somewhere between 10 and 30 bites. 10%-20% have broken the skin and bled, most scratch, few puncture - but even that has happened a couple times. Most often it involves a turn of the head and a snap on the wrist. Lightning fast and most often there is little to no warning. I have noticed his eyes change the instant before a biting incident and an evident remorse afterwards (no evidence of aggression following the bite). My wife and I are now considering babies of our own....
I will not have Tucker put down. Tucker and I see eye to eye and he would never bite me or my wife (but has) at this point. However, he will pretty much bite anyone else on the planet. We have no idea why. We do know he was undersocialized, but our fear of lawsuit prevents us from proper socialization with people. He's okay, for the most part, with other dogs as long as he's off the leash. He is not aggressive. I know that doesn't make sense, but to explain - you can come into my house and be 100% safe if you ignore him. It's when he's reached for that he reacts. There is typically no warning at all. However, if you approach his 'space' once he's comfortable, he will growl if he feels you are encroaching, but has never attacked unless provoked (in that situation).
I've thought about submitting my story to Cesar Milan since it's an extreme case, but getting the require video means someone has to get bitten and I find that difficult to stage.
Anyway, I would prefer to discuss this one on one with someone who knows about these things. I'd rather not hear a bunch of 'what ifs' because we've been there...done that trying to figure him out. It's time for professional help. We would even consider a 'whisperer' if we thought it would help.
We are in the process of applying to see Dr. E. Kathry Meyer, V.M.D. with Veterinary Behavior Clinic in Gaithersburg, MD. If anyone knows anything about her before we spend tons of money for nothing, that would also be prudent information.
Thanks in advance,