Otis just nipped my son…
Houston

….over some popcorn.
The kids were watching a movie and eating popcorn. After the movie they got up from the couch and left the residual popcorn on the coffee table, of course Otis beelined over to take the popcorn so Lukas interveened and reached for the container to take it to the trash and Otis lunged at him and nipped Lukas' stomach, now he has teeth marks on the stomach.

This is not the first time Otis has done this, he has bit my husband twice on the leg if food is involved and got me bad once when I was trying to take a bone away from him..those times he had his food/bone and we were moving in on him, but this time he went for human food.
I am very concerned and do not know what to do..
He knows he's wrong, very remorseful and looks apologetic (if that is possible)..but I got so mad at him I put him outside in the rain..after a minute I felt bad about the rain so I brought him in and put him in his crate, which I know is not good, but I wanted him to know he is being punished AND I wanted my son to know it is not acceptable for the dogs to touch him or any other human.
Any ideas?

Sorry to hear. I'm sure someone will chime in with some good advice. There's always the option of a behaviorist if you find it's difficult to correct.

I had a Border Collie that was food protective. It's not easy working with them around food but I know we did eventually calm him down a bit to where he wasn't as bad. It involves a bit of reconditioning with how you feed them, but it does help.

@Basenjimamma:

….over some popcorn.
The kids were watching a movie and eating popcorn. After the movie they got up from the couch and left the residual popcorn on the coffee table, of course Otis beelined over to take the popcorn so Lukas interveened and reached for the container to take it to the trash and Otis lunged at him and nipped Lukas' stomach, now he has teeth marks on the stomach.

This is not the first time Otis has done this, he has bit my husband twice on the leg if food is involved and got me bad once when I was trying to take a bone away from him..those times he had his food/bone and we were moving in on him, but this time he went for human food.
I am very concerned and do not know what to do..
He knows he's wrong, very remorseful and looks apologetic (if that is possible)..but I got so mad at him I put him outside in the rain..after a minute I felt bad about the rain so I brought him in and put him in his crate, which I know is not good, but I wanted him to know he is being punished AND I wanted my son to know it is not acceptable for the dogs to touch him or any other human.
Any ideas?

Go back and read all the different posts on resourse guarding, as this is what he is doing.. And really the suggestion of a behavorist is really the way to go, IMO… as this will only get worse because it was not stopped the first time that he did this.

And do not put your emotion on the dog, any dog.... they do not feel remorse and he was not being apologetic, those are human emotions, not animal.... It is no different then when people find a potty mess and claim that the dog is "sorry" and feels bad, what they (the dog) is reacting to is the human, not the act.

What did you do the other 3 times he bit you or your husband? Have you done any work with him on it and did you talk with any trainers and did they give you any advice? IMHO, the idea of getting a trainer in is a good idea.

I have to agree with Pat about dogs not feeling remorse - that is a human emotion. I think if he acted differently it was probably because he knew would be punished or knew you were angry, not because he was sorry for what he did.

Do you normally feed Otis when he is calm? IMO, a dog needs to respect the whole feeding process. I know this may be easier to say than accomplish with b's , so a trainer might be useful at this time.

Houston

What did you do the other 3 times he bit you or your husband? Have you done any work with him on it and did you talk with any trainers and did they give you any advice? IMHO, the idea of getting a trainer in is a good idea.

Those times we reprimanded him by putting him in his crate, well when he bit me he was inhis crate, so I was on his turf, but the bone he was chewing was getting small, so I was worried about him choking on it.
The trainer said for me to calmly remove him from the scene and not to show emotions..Today I went nuts..so emotions were seen from everywhere, he looked shocked..but then again, those are dog looks, not true emotions I understand that.

Do you normally feed Otis when he is calm?

I usually feed all the dogs together, and it works fine, my husband does the same thing, Since the biting of hy husband I have had him feed the dogs in the p.m, and I do the a.m..so they see him as a master as well.(?)
If they get treats or bones, I have been crating him since he bit my husband the first time..so nobody can get to him, nor can he get to one of us.
He is perfectly happy in his crate so that works good.

But today he went for the kids food, not his food. I will speak to my trainer again and see what he says.

I totally agree with him not being remorseful, his face looked it though, but then again that has to do with those darn cute wrinkles, not an expression or feeling.

I think working with a good trainer or behaviorist is an excellent idea. With kids involved the sooner you bring in a professional the better.

For now, really work on "trading up" when you need to take something of value from Otis. The idea is to offer Otis something else that he really likes in exchange for what you want. So if you need to take his bone away, offer him a super special goody in its place, like some cheese or chicken, or whatever he finds high value.

Also, start working on leave it. On this site, http://www.dragonflyllama.com/%20DOGS/Levels/ByLevel/1Level.html, it is called Zen. This site builds the behavior with small increases in difficulty as you go up in level.

IMO, by just crating him, that was not working to correct the behavior. He needs to learn what is yours is yours and what his is yours too, period. It is NOT his turf for the humans in the house, period… it is your house, yours rules.

He needs to learn the "trading up"... which means you need to teach him when you want to take something from him, trade him for something even better. So a piece of meat in exchange for the bone... that way he doesn't think that you are just always "taking". And remember, he doesn't know they are kids, he just was taking what he thinks he as a right to have under any conditions. To him, kids and adults are just other pack members

Do you feed in crates? You should in a multi dog home and you should kennel the dogs first, then make the meals and feed them. That way they are under control before the feed time even starts.

Has he been neutered yet?

@Basenjimamma:

I totally agree with him not being remorseful, his face looked it though, but then again that has to do with those darn cute wrinkles, not an expression or feeling.

It is not remorse, it is appeasement. He knows your are angry and wants to appease you because of that.

Dogs do have emotion and they have great body language but we humans do not always read them very well. If you don't have The Language of Dogs in your DVD collection then I highly recommend it. It makes a huge difference knowing what you are seeing.

Here is a video by Susan Garrett that may also help with training Otis to leave it.

Remember however, that everyone MUST be on board when it comes to training…. and needs to happen every day, not just when you remember.

Houston

We do leave it when it comes to his food and all the other dogs as well, meaning we put the food down in front of them and say "leave it" ..they are not allowed to touch their bowls until given the command "go ahead", it works fine in that sense, but I need to work on it in other areas as well, like when I go to take the bone or something like that. Otis is actually the one dog out of our four that does "leave it" exceptionally well in those instances..
Thanks for the videos recommendations.

I tried trading it up when I went for the bone he took it, but the second I reached for the "bad/short" bone he went for my arm, with the other treat in his mouht still..I guess I should be faster and more nimble.

Just now, after dinner, they were all away from the dining area, but as I am cleaning up he tries to steal crumbs on the table, so I told him to "leave it" and "get down", he did as told, but seconds later charged Moses that was coming into the dining room..like it is his turf..I separated the two and scolded Otis for his actions..but I know I probably didn't do that right.
I will look into the training tips and work with him more hardcore..

No, Tanza, he isn't neutered yet. I wanted to wait until he turned one, and he just did.

Houston

one more question. How do I go about feeding in the crates if they also sleep in there? I mean they get raw food, so meaty bones or sometimes ground meats in a bowl, but wouldn't that get messy on their bedding? I keep their crates in our bedroom, should I move those or does that even matter?
Thanks again for you help guys.

When it comes to crate setup, I think it really depends on you and your household. My dad thinks my mom is nuts because she has so many crates but he sure appreciates it when he needs one because there is always a crate available. She has some setup in her living room, a couple bedroom, she has a set in her car. I don't think I have quite as many as she does but I do have at least 2 crates for each dog.

Crate mats can come out for feeding so they don't get messy when you give them their raw meals. Or you can have crates in feeding area that just don't have bedding in them.

Considering the problem seems to be getting worse, I would have a crate available when you are eating and cleaning up after your dinner so you don't give Otis the opportunity to practice this behavior. Give him his dinner in his crate while you eat and clean up then let him out when everything is done and calm again.

Houston

Good idea Lisa..I will do just that..again thanks.

Also keep in mind that things might be changing in the dynamics of the pack, that you are unaware of. He might be acting out in ways that he hasn't before, if he perceives that his status is threatened by the other dogs, particularly since Moses is approaching maturity (correct?) Sometimes it is more difficult to see what is happening in our homes amongst our dogs because we are totally immersed in it… a behaviorist may be able to help you see the forest for the trees, so to speak 😉

Houston

Also keep in mind that things might be changing in the dynamics of the pack, that you are unaware of. He might be acting out in ways that he hasn't before, if he perceives that his status is threatened by the other dogs, particularly since Moses is approaching maturity (correct?) Sometimes it is more difficult to see what is happening in our homes amongst our dogs because we are totally immersed in it… a behaviorist may be able to help you see the forest for the trees, so to speak

I thought of that, since Moses is coming up at 10 months soon..but he is so laid back and will not challenge Otis on anything..not food, not sleeping place, he will sleep on the floor if the beds are taken, Otis will simply walk allover the other dogs and just plop himself onto them until they move and voila..his place is great. Moses will drop toys if Otis motions towards him..but maybe I am not seeing all of it. We have two other dogs in the house, older than Otis, but Otis has always bossed them around..until they have had enough and then they rip his head off and be done with it for another couple of weeks/months.

We'll see, I will start by feeding them in their crates tomorrow and while we eat.

Again as pointed out, you may not be reading the signals that are being given off… and a little story here... My Maggii was very laid back, my Fatia was a "want be" top dog and decided that Maggii was the problem. Now in dog language, if you watched Maggii, while she seems submissive, she really was not.. but instead a very confindent bitch and happy in her own skin. And Fatia saw this as a challenge. She would attack Maggii at every chance... Maggii, while she would defend herself, was never the aggressor of a situation.. but still Fatia saw her as a challenge... Long story short, Fatia found a new home (and it worked perfectly) but to the untrained eye, no one would have picked up on the pack pecking order, if you didn't know each of the dogs and their body postures/language.

Rather then a "trainer" unless also a behaviorist, I would opt for a behaviorist that can give you clues/tips to put into action to help the situation. And trust me, it will not get better on its own.

I have to agree with Lisa, Pat & Andrea - a behaviorist is in order - it does seem that you'll need outside help to fix this. I think it is very possible there are other signals that you are missing (do buy the Language of Dogs DVD if you don't have it already) - and it does sound like the problem is escalating and won't get better until you get help. Just curious, but did Otis bite you or your husband before Moses came along?

The feeding in crates and keeping them crated while you are cleaning up is good, but you also have the added issue if the kids have food at any time the dogs are loose in the house - that would be what I'd be most concerned about at this point. Otis has shown that he isn't afraid of going after your son to get food.

Oh, and one thing you said was that you should be "faster & more nimble" when doing trading up with Otis so as not to get bitten - I'd have to disagree, you shouldn't have to be worrying about how fast you do anything.

@renaultf1:

I have to agree with Lisa, Pat & Andrea - a behaviorist is in order - it does seem that you'll need outside help to fix this. I think it is very possible there are other signals that you are missing (do buy the Language of Dogs DVD if you don't have it already) - and it does sound like the problem is escalating and won't get better until you get help. Just curious, but did Otis bite you or your husband before Moses came along?

The feeding in crates and keeping them crated while you are cleaning up is good, but you also have the added issue if the kids have food at any time the dogs are loose in the house - that would be what I'd be most concerned about at this point. Otis has shown that he isn't afraid of going after your son to get food.

Oh, and one thing you said was that you should be "faster & more nimble" when doing trading up with Otis so as not to get bitten - I'd have to disagree, you shouldn't have to be worrying about how fast you do anything.[/[/COLOR]QUOTE]

True…quick tip. When you are starting this training, once you get the dog's attention with the good treat...you can throw it across the room...or at the very least hold it far away, so they have to get up and leave what they are guarding, and you can calmly pick it up. You do the ground work for this behavior when they DON'T have something they are guarding though, by training a 'leave it' and then a cue to move away from it 'over there', and then 'sit wait' while you get the item...and then a reward. You train all those steps during a calm time, with no other dogs in the room.

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