Aggression ONLY when in trouble…URGENT
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  • Ive dealt with this for the past year. Anubis has been being very violently aggressive when he gets into trouble for something. Ive been bitten pretty badly twice. He gets LOTS of exercise. He's been to the vet several times. And given a clean bill of health. The first time was a year ago, he had an accident on my carpet at my old apartment. I NEVER hit my dog ever, as a punishment. I use firm words. And he gets lots of positive and treats when he does something GOOD. When I walked towards him to tell him NO and put him outside he turned around and lashed out at me, breaking the skin on my wrist and sinking his teeth almost to my bone. I went to the dr and got it cleaned out. And every time since then whenever I go to get onto him for something he did wrong he runs at me teeth bared and gets VERY snarly and snappy. He will run and go under my futon, the kitchen table or he will run in his crate growling and snapping at me. Ive asked my vet and he said maybe its something rooted from when he was a puppy that his previous owners did. But Im not sure because they were VERY nice people who loved him very much. I got him from them when they had to move and couldn't take their two Basenjis. My friend got Anubis' brother Domino. They took very good care of them. His aggression came on so suddenly and its gotten worse. I am posting because today he bit me again. I walked in from getting the mail and found him inside my trash. I walked over and said NO ANUBIS and went to pick the trash can up and he bit my arm twice. Ive got two small holes in my right arm. I don't know what to do about his behavior and Im afraid if it continues I'll have to give him up. Ive tried everything to get it to stop. He KNOWS when he's in trouble and gets very defensive and I don't know why. Its frustrating because I love him deeply and never want to give him up. But this behavior is becoming too much. I have pics attached of each bite. The redness on the first one is just blood. The only way to grab him when he's like that to try and chill him out is to make a noose with his leash and snag him. Its the only thing that will break his attention from the aggressive behavior and put his attention on me. After that once I catch him he's totally calm and happy again. He'll even lick me as if to say Sorry. I dont know what to do. I seriously hope someone can help me. I don't want to give my baby up.

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  • I'd stop doing whatever you are doing right before he bites you. If you are yelling at him, stop…if you are 'using firm words', stop. Obviously your corrections are not working with him, you need to try another technique. Ideally you would set things up so that he doesn't get to that place in his brain where you have noose him to calm him down. Contact a trainer in your area with positive reinforcement training techniques. You will probably have to change your perspective on everything you know about dog training, but you can change his behavior.

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  • When he does something he's not supposed to do then how should I correct his bad behavior? If telling him No sends him into his aggressive state then how else should I go about correcting it? He's bitten me twice…today in fact. He got into the trash and I said No Anubis Leave It and when I picked the trash can up he lashed out. He knows what Leave it means. I dont have the money for a trainer.

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  • As asked on the Af Yahoo list, has he had a complete medical workup including a Full Thryoid panel done?

    Is he neutered? And honestly, you really need professional help and need to find a way to afford it before you get seriously bitten and animal control takes him….

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  • Yeah hes been to the vet several times and given a clean bill of health each time. I didnt go to the dr this time because the bite wasnt that bad. Just hurts is all. I dont have money for a trainer so Im looking at other avenues to correct it. Id never let animal control take him. He's not vicious all the time. Hes very smart…he knows when hes messed up...and once he's all calm again he even licks me as if to say Sorry. Not sure why his lashing out would be fear based...ive never done anything to make him scared. And his aggression came on SO suddenly. Id get onto him in the past and tell him NO about something and he'd be fine. Ive never laid a hand on him. Its an interesting situation.

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  • @Anubis's:

    Yeah hes been to the vet several times and given a clean bill of health each time. I didnt go to the dr this time because the bite wasnt that bad. Just hurts is all. I dont have money for a trainer so Im looking at other avenues to correct it. Id never let animal control take him. He's not vicious all the time. Hes very smart…he knows when hes messed up...and once he's all calm again he even licks me as if to say Sorry. Not sure why his lashing out would be fear based...ive never done anything to make him scared. And his aggression came on SO suddenly. Id get onto him in the past and tell him NO about something and he'd be fine. Ive never laid a hand on him. Its an interesting situation.

    You may not have a choice when it comes to animal control.. And as I suggested on the Af list, who did the thyroid panel? And good to get a second opinion which Dr. Dodds is alway willing to do. Coming on suddenly, I would really 1st have to look to a medical issue.

    Do you know what his pedigree is? If you want to share it maybe some of us might know something about dogs in his pedigree and if we have heard of temperament problems…..

    And honestly, there is no way that anyone on this list or any other list can correct this behavior.... really does need professional help

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    What is the Af list? Do I want to be on it?

    -Nicole

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  • http://www.mywonderfuldog.net/pdfs/Trading_Up.pdf

    http://petcentralpawsitivepetcare.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/matwork/

    http://dogscouts.org/Protocol_for_relaxation.html

    Honestly, I think when a dog bites advice/help you need is a little beyond internet help. Having said that, I've included some links for things you should find helpful.

    I would "ask" Anubis to do something else instead of scolding him. If he's into something he shouldn't be, can you recall him and PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE (reward with food/toys) for that recall. Or ask him to go to his mat. Mat work is so helpful but it does take a lot of reinfocement for the dog to LOVELOVELOVE his mat. Zest LOVESLOVESLOVES her mat and is thrilled to "magic mat" when ever I ask her to. Getting to that point takes time and lots of repetition but is very do-able.

    The other thing I've done with Zest is reward her for bringing me stuff. She now has a lovely retrieve and has brought me such treasures as bacon wrapping plastic and a 1/2 dead rabbit. Of couse I worked hard on that when I got her as a puppy, so that did make things easier.

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  • Hi Anubis's Momma… I just read some of your old posts.
    Have you had him neutered yet? I understand that you have financial issues, but if your dog is still intact, then think of him as a 14 year old teenage boy, lol. And without getting too personal, if it's "your time of the month", perhaps he senses it? Again, no need to share on this forum, but just a thought. Or, has anything changed with your relationships? Dogs really pick up on these things.

    Does he get to a dog park? Your wrote once that you exercise him both in the morning and at night... has that changed? Is it possible to get him to a dog park- not for the exercise, but for the socialization aspect? My sister's basenji boy just looks forward to his time at the dog park, and she will testify that he looks forward to his visit, has certain dogs that he's friends with (and others that he definitely doesn't like)... and that she can tell when he needs a dog park visit if they've been away. Seriously, by getting him out and about, this could help with his behavior... but PLEASE get him fixed first.

    Vets are struggling for business, just like many of us, and they are doing specials to keep the doors open. Call around and find someone who is offering reduced rates- you'll find them.

    Keep us posted. (Hugs to you!).

    (PS...Pat, if this helps you research:

    …the name of the parents say Grays Jake and Grays Daisey. They came from someone who only bred Jake and Daisey once. He's fanconi clear which is good. Neither of his parents were carriers so im happy

    .)

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  • @nkjvcjs:

    What is the Af list? Do I want to be on it?

    -Nicole

    You're already on it. It's the Basenji African list.

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  • When I dog bites hard enough to puncture, you NEED professional help. Failing that, I recently posted nothing in life is free. You need to get to it immediately. Stop raising your voice, but make him work for every single bite that goes in his mouth. No furniture, no bed, his place is his crate.

    He doesn't KNOW he's in trouble, he knows you are trying to correct him and his response is PRECISELY what an alpha does to underlings… he bites. You need to have a plastic baseball bat, the soft ones or very light, so that when you tell him to get off the bed or furniture, IN AN EMERGENCY (as in if he rushes you) you can keep him off.

    However, I would avoid corrections and work on limiting his access to anywhere in the house except his crate. Out of crate, have him on a leash long enough to let him move around but so you CONTROL HIM ALL THE TIME. Food? sit, down, sit down, whatever.. he works for every single bit that goes in his mouth. Keeping him leashed will help prevent you getting bit because you have control of him.

    Because here is the bottom line. You can't "give him up." No one can take him and you can't afford to let them. If he bites someone, with you knowing he bites, they can sue you. Either you fix this, or you do the responsible thing, take him to your vet, and put him down.

    I work with aggression issues, and I wish to heck we were closer, but right now, you have to prevent any more bites and you have to stop the behavior.

    As for thyroid, unless the panel was sent to somewhere really reputable (I insist on Michigan), have it redone. I see people praise Dodds and I don't want to get into a debate about her... but I know many people who had dogs who were triple tested that SHE said had major thyroid problems that no one else found. It is her "thing." So use one of the OFA approved labs. And if the result is EVEN borderline, get your vet to put him on a low dose to see if it helps.

    Ditto on neutering... it helps some, but you still have to work directly on this issue.

    But understand even if thyroid, this dog have now established a behavior and that behavior MUST be stopped. When he backed you off the first time, he began to see that as an option. He must rethink it. He must learn you are in control and you can tell him no.. no firmly, just use your normal voice.

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  • How long have you had Anibus? Did he have this behavior since you've had him? If yes, did you ask the people that had him before if he reacted this way with them? If it started all the sudden I would have his thyroid tested through Dr Dodds not the vet. The neutering is a big factor too.

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  • in addition to thyroid problems, some tick-related diseases can cause temperment changes. both of those should be looked into if it is a sudden change. and definately neuter this boy!!!

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  • @Anubis's:

    When he does something he's not supposed to do then how should I correct his bad behavior? If telling him No sends him into his aggressive state then how else should I go about correcting it? He's bitten me twice…today in fact. He got into the trash and I said No Anubis Leave It and when I picked the trash can up he lashed out. He knows what Leave it means. I dont have the money for a trainer.

    He isn't being bad…he is being a dog! Of course he knows what leave it means...he also knows that he doesn't want to. The only way you can make him want to 'leave it' is if you make it worth his while. It is almost unheard of to find a Basenji that does things just to please you...you have to make him think that cooperating is his idea...and he doesn't get anything if he doesn't cooperate. You just can't force a dog like this to comply...they will respond with aggression. If you really want to keep him (alive), YOU have to change your perspective on what dog behavior is. It is too bad you can't find the money for a trainer...could you find the money for some of the books that Agile mentioned? Is a trainer less expensive than medical bills for you and eventually a euthanasia bill for him? I am sorry if that sounds harsh, but what you are doing is not working with this dog, you need to try something different.

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  • Actually andrea, I didn't mention my usual list of books, just links for trading up, mat work and the relaxation protocal. So it's very cheap (Free! my favorite price)! Books, I don't know. While I find Control Unleashed always helpful, perhaps Click To Calm would be the best bet in this case. Books can usually be found at amazon or dogwise.com. Of couse I'd also encourage the OP to read anything by Dr McConnell that she can find at her local public library!

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  • @agilebasenji:

    Actually andrea, I didn't mention my usual list of books, just links for trading up, mat work and the relaxation protocal. So it's very cheap (Free! my favorite price)! Books, I don't know. While I find Control Unleashed always helpful, perhaps Click To Calm would be the best bet in this case. Books can usually be found at amazon or dogwise.com. Of couse I'd also encourage the OP to read anything by Dr McConnell that she can find at her local public library!

    Ooops…sorry! I just assumed links to books, but free is even better! But I agree with everyone, that the OP needs some help from an outside source, the RIGHT kind of training for this situation. I don't think websites and books are going to be able to give her the results she needs.

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  • I think "Click to Calm" would be good to read for background mostly, there might be a used copy you could get on Amazon. It has good info on setting a structured environment for your dog and suggested obedience training helpful for particular situations. It does go into behavioral modification, but I would not suggest doing any of that without consulting a behaviorist first. This is too dangerous to mess with, particularly if you don't know what the triggers are. It would be very easy to make the situation worse.

    I'd suggest still looking for trainers in your area, even if you think you can't afford it. I'm having a comparatively mild aggression issue with one of my dogs and I've contacted several trainers/behaviorists for help dealing with it until I found one I liked. I think you will find that as a whole, they want to help you, even if they may not be able to work with you themselves. They may know other trainers or resources that would work for your situation. You have to ask first. Please, consider looking into it.

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  • Dan, I have had him for 2 years. I got him close to a year old. He is turning 3 on December 15th. His behavior described started about 6-7mo AFTER I got him. And its been going on ever since. Started off not as bad but has gotten worse over time. Before it was just being very snarky and not biting or snapping. Then gradually it moved onto snapping and biting at me and sometimes lunging at me. I am going to have him neutered and take all of Debra's advice for sure! Im not giving up on my boy and I sure as heck ain't putting him down. I love this dog and have invested so much in him. Almost lost him once to HGE (hemorrhagic gastroenteritis). As much as it hurts my feelings when he does this, I know it can be corrected. Im going to have him sleep in his crate only from now on. He usually sleeps at the end of my bed with me. And chills on the recliner when Im in my living room. He's VERY lovable when he's not doing something wrong. When he's in trouble he turns into demon dog. Its like a completely different dog has replaced him or something.

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  • As I posted on the other list, reading about these snap changes, I don't wonder about rage syndrome in some manner.

    And again as I posted on the other list, when you catch him doing something that he should not be, don't mistake your emotions that he "knows" he is doing something wrong. He is really reacting to you, your body posture, your voice, then to knowing he is doing something wrong. And in doing that, he is going to act first and take over the situation.

    Have you ever tried ignoring the behavior? And instead of trying to correct him with your voice (harsh) or trying to remove him from what he is doing (that you consider wrong, but he really doesn't)…. have you tried to engage him to come to you in a happy voice, difuse the situation instead of adding to it? Reward him for coming to you and ignoring that is considered behaving badly or getting into something he shouldn't?

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  • His response is pretty typical for a dog that responds poorly to having been punished when caught in the act of doing something wrong. Amy, I understand that you haven't physically hit him…but if he was hit, or really intimdated at his first home for things like getting into the garbage, anything and everything that surrounded those events will be imprinted in his memory. So the act of you coming in and finding him in the middle of something he shouldn't be doing, may cause him to freak out because he anticipates being punished. If you yell, or show signs of anger that may make him remember punishment. So at this point, the only thing you can do is try to reverse that association. Try to change your POV so that he can do nothing "wrong"...set him up so there is no way he can get to a garbage, or get into any trouble. If he does (which he will) you chalk it up to your mistake. For the moment, I would try to never use another angry word with him...even if you are gritting your teeth, smiling at the little $h!^, you say 'what a naughty, naughty boy, come over here so we can do a training session'...and the minute he turns away from the trouble, without anger, he gets huge rewards. Yes, you will feel like you are bribing him (and you are, for the moment)...and yes, it will feel very un-natural for you...but as I said before you cannot "correct" him into behaving at this point...he does not have that type of temperament.

    Check out the book "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons

    http://www.amazon.com/Click-Calm-Healing-Aggressive-Clicker/dp/1890948209

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  • Well said Andrea….

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