I haven't been on much in the last year, but I did want to update on our situation. If you look a few threads down you can see the thread I started a year ago about Tosca biting my 10 mo old on the face. Just thought I'd update…
Overall we are doing very well. Colton's bite healed right up, and while there is still a small scar on this cheek, you can barely see it. It took a long time for it not to show up in pictures and things, but now I really only notice it in certain lights or when I am right up next to his face.
He and Tosca are doing ok, too. I never really could get my husband on board with seeing a behaviorist, but so far (knock on wood) things have been ok. For quite awhile we kept them totally apart...Tosca would go outside or down stairs with my husband or I, and they were never really together. Now, though, I'd say it's 50/50. We still NEVER allow them to be unsupervised together, but they do play together with us. And, now that Colton is talking and mobile (he's 22 months already!) we can let them play side by side as long as we are in the same room.
We haven't even had a growling incident since then, and Tosca does let Colton pet her, feed her, etc. She will let Colton run up to her, and pet her, things like that. So that's all been very good, and I think we've come a long way! I still don't think I'll ever trust them to be alone together, though. DH and I are always in arms reach and watching carefully. Tosca has been very good with other children as well, though I only let them pet her if I'm right there too.
My only problem that I am looking for advice for is now that Colton is getting older, he does want to play with her more, and doesn't always understand nice touches. He is testing...he will act like he wants to grab her tail or reach around and pick her up. I could see that being something that would possibly make Tosca angry, and rightfully so. He has 2 dogs he is with every day at daycare, and they are easygoing...Colton can fall right on them, poke them, etc and they are super tolerant. Therefore, he doesn't understand he can't do the same thing with Tosca. Any advice on teaching him how to interact appropriately with Tosca? Because of this, I've been extra nervous lately when the two are in the same room, but I'm definitely keeping and eye on them at all times. It's just been more difficult.
If you've gotten through this all, thanks for reading! Also, thanks to everyone who gave me advice last year. I still have contact information for some of the trainers in case we do decide to go that route in the future, or if things get worse. Just wanted to update everyone...have a great Halloween!
Quercus…did you get my email? I hope the address worked...I spoke to both of the trainers, but have no idea what to look for in terms of certification and stuff. I didn't know if I should put the names on here publicly, so I emailed you. Just wondering if you had any input on which to choose, and wondering if you had heard of one of them.
Hope you don't mind my email, and thanks in advance for any advice you can give!
Thanks Quercus…if you don't mind, I will do that Also, if you don't mind, I might email you and ask you which seems better. I have one name I got from Shawn Smith, but she admitted she doesn't know this person in real life. I also got another name from Tosca's vet. Her vet is not all that familiar with Basenjis, but said she thought hers would be better because she had heard of the person from Shawn, but thought hers would be better for aggression issues. Both the vet and Shawn told me to look at their certifications and decide, but I have no idea what I am looking for.
Therefore, if things are still unclear after speaking to these people on the phone, I might ask your opinion if that's ok
DebraDownSouth...we do have a large crate, but we can't keep her in there all the time. We already work full time, so I can't imagine locking her up for so long, that's no life for Tosca either. As for the rawhides, I know they are not the safest thing, but we take what precautions we can. She only chews them for awhile each day, not hours on end. Also she is supervised, and I am watching for her to bite off any big chunks and things like that. I often have treats nearby and "trade" her if she gets a chunk off. I know they are scary, when we first got Tosca and didn't know any better, we let her have them and didn't take chunks away, and she did start choking once. Luckily DH was able to get it out just fine. Right now, I think with our precautions the benefits outweigh the risks, but that's just me. I know a lot of people use them, and others are hesitant
Thanks for asking
Things are going ok…Colton is healing well, he got his stitches out yesterday, so he no longer looks like Chucky You can definitely still tell it was a bite, though, which is embarrassing when I take him anywhere.
Tosca is doing ok too...her vet visits have been fine (we have to go 3x in 10 days per law) but she is going crazy with no walks for 10 days. Monday can't come fast enough in that regard!
It hasn't been too bad, though, keeping them apart. It sucks, but it's been managable with rawhides, and rotating her between outside, and up/down with DH or I, whoever doesn't have Colton at the moment.
I have called 2 behaviorists, but so far we are playing phone tag. One I am hoping to talk to on Sunday, the other might have to wait until after the weekend. I was sick Tuesday and Wednesday so I didn't get calling as quickly as I should have. The first was recommended by Shawn Smith, and the second from my vet. After I speak to them in person, I'll try to decide who would be better for our situation. Hopefully we can get whoever it is in quickly and get working on this...so far it's been manageable, but certainly not easy. Especially with winter coming, and we can't put Tosca outside as much.
So overall we are managing just fine, and waiting for more news...I'll update again soon Thanks to everyone who helped me...it's great to have such wonderful support!
Thanks again everyone! I called Shawn today, and left a voicemail…she called me back but we can't talk till tomorrow. She was hesitant to help because of distance, but said she would do what she could, and she is looking for someone in my area. I am anxious to talk to her tomorrow, hopefully I can get some good information
I tried the second site, but still couldn't get to it…it just has the person's name, and when you click on the name, it's supposed to put their email address into a message for you. I don't have this set up on my computer, so when I click the name, it says I have no default email client or something like that I have tried setting that up in the past, but using Yahoo email, I couldn't figure out how to do it...
So, if you don't mind, that would be great if Alex could send me your email, and I can get in touch with you that way.
I don't remember, because it's been awhile since I've been more active here, but are private messages back? Is it against TOS to give personal contact information there?
Whatever is easiest Just let me know...thanks again for your help, I am anxious to talk to someone in person and see what they recommend also.
Have a great day!
Thank you, I will look this over and contact her…if nothing else just to speak with her if possible, and see what she suggests. If you do know of any more places in my area, please do send them my way
If you are able to give it out, do you have any contact info for BCSOW? I looked on their site, but couldn't find a phone number or anything. I found email links, but they didn't work with the way I have my computer set up, I couldn't see the actual email addresses, just the links, which didn't work for me.
I just wish I had seen more what happened, so I could get better help/insight from a trainer. I am thinking Colton just startled her somehow, but I wish I knew if it were resource guarding or something like that...I don't know what she would have been guarding in the place it happened, but you never know...maybe there was a piece of food on the floor that I missed or something. Either way, I am anxious to at least speak to a professional. As great as it is to post on here, it will be easier and even more helpfuul to explain exactly what happened, and discuss the situation in a live conversation.
Thank you for taking the time to write me such a thoughtful response. I know you are very experienced, and a mom, so you were one of the people I was most hoping would respond. Even though I am not active here much since Colton came, I have been a part of this community for years now, and have really gotten to see the wonderful advice many people have…thank you so much for that.
That's too bad the person you were thinking of is not from our area, if you do know of any resources PLEASE send them my way. Not that it is an acceptable excuse, but that's part of the reason why I didn't pursue things more months ago, I never seemed to find any good people to contact in my area. If we decide to keep Tosca, though, something obviously HAS to be done this time, no more putting it off.
I am glad to hear you think we might still be able to work with Tosca, though I am still not sure what we are going to do. It's so hard to talk to anyone in real life about the subject, also, since everyone is so quick to judge, and most people don't understand dogs the way people on here do. I think if we do decide to keep Tosca, the majority of people I know in person will think we are insane.
ALso, thank you for not judging me...though I'll fully admit this was a lack of proper parenting, I am glad to hear you don't think I'm a horrible mom
Tosca bit my son last night.
If you read my post a few down, we did have one issue when Colton was 2 months old. He is now 9 months. Tosca had growled at him when he invaded her space while she was resting. I posted how the only other times Tosca has growled is when food was involved (rawhide situation) or again, when she was resting. I had intended to get a behavorist or someone involved, and this is partly where I failed. We had had no more incidences since then, and since I knew that Tosca had only shown aggression when with food/resting, we obviously had Colton avoid interacting with her in those situations.
The rest of the time, we were cautious, but did let them interact. Never completely alone, but when we were in the room together, they would be playing around (usually independently). Colton would occasionally try to grab at/pet Tosca, and we'd just help him do it, or redirect him, but Tosca never showed any aggression toward him doing this. Sadly, we let our guard down.
Fast forward to last night…
Tosca and Colton were playing around in the kitchen/living room. We have kind of an open concept, where the two rooms run together. I was in the living room, Colton was crawling back and forth, and Tosca was independently going back and forth as well, but the two weren't really interacting. All of a sudden I heard a snarl in the kitchen, and saw Colton bend over, crying. Of course, I freaked out, and went to Colton, expecting him to be scared, but Ok. When I picked him up, I saw Tosca had bitten his cheek. I woke up my husband, and we examined the injuries.
He had bruising on his right cheek, and 2 puncture wounds. The bleeding stopped, as did his crying, after a couple of minutes, but the wounds looked pretty deep. I called the peditrician, and took him in to be looked at. They prescribed and antibiotic as a precaution, and did decide to stitch up the wounds. He didn't NEED the stitches, but we did it to help minimize scaring on his face. Colton took it like a champ, but I was a mess. Today, Colton is fine, playing around and happy...but obviously we need to see where to go now.
When the incident happened, we were both so much in shock, neither of us really did anything with Tosca. As you can read last time, my husband my husband got angry, this time I think he was just sad...in shock and not knowing what to do. We both knew we couldn't exactly do anything so far after it happened, so from Tosca's point of view, we pretty much just ignored her behavior.
Now we don't know what to do. Even though I didn't see EXACTLY what happened, I am 100% sure Colton did something to provoke her...either startled her, grabbed her tail, or something. I just wish I knew exactly what set Tosca off. There wasn't food anywhere in the area, and she was not having her space invaded. Yet, Colton obviously made her feel uneasy about something, and the thing that scared me was there was no warning growl this time, just the snarl/bite.
The shred of good news is that once Tosca bit, she didn't keep going. She backed off immediately, did not shake her head or try to keep going at him, and showed no further agression to me or my husband. That is what is so weird too, as soon as it was over, Tosca acted like nothing happened.
I feel horrible...I feel awful for not seeing EXACTLY what happened, even though I was in the area, I should have been watching them closer. I also feel like a failure for getting comfortable and not following through with a behaviorist after the incident a few months ago. It just seemed we had identified the triggers (food, resting) and we never pictured Tosca acting agressively while just going about her normal day and playing.
So...now we have a big decision to make...do we try to rehome Tosca, or still try to work things out with our family, obviously with BIG and immediate changes. This is where I need advice...
*If we do decide to go the route of rehoming her, will BRAT help us out, now that she has a bite on her record? I refuse to take her to a shelter, and I really do think she could have a happy life in a home with adults who understand basenjis and don't have any other kids or pets in the home. Other than this, she is a great dog, and has never shown agression to adults.
*Since I am in WI, I also considered calling the Basenji Club of Southeast WI...do you think they would be any help?
*If we do decide to rehome, is there any other resources we can use? Like I said, I refuse to just take her to a shelter. We got her from a shelter in Dubuque, Iowa, so I have no breeder information on her.
Our other option is to still try to work things out with her...does this seem possible? My husband has looked online for things we can do to divide up our living room to have one area for Tosca, and another for Colton. That way they'd each have their own space and yet not be together. I'd be willing to try, but I don't know if this would work long term or not. Basically, we'd have to come up with some plan to keep them apart. Sometimes it would be easy, when DH and I are downstairs working out, doing our own thing, etc, we'd just bring Tocsa and the other one would be with Colton. Other times we'd have to get more creative, like the idea above.
Another thing we would have to do (for real this time) is consult a behaviorist. I have some questions about this...
*Would a behaviorst be willing to help us, or would he/she suggest immediate rehoming?
*If we were to work with someone, do you think we could ever get to the point where we could have the 2 around each other again?
Any positive advice and input would be greatly appreciate. I know I screwed up big time in a lot of areas (not following through with the behaviorist, letting my guard down, etc) so I am not looking for criticism, but some positive advice on how to handle the situation now. I at a loss, and I know our decision will not be made overnight...right now we are just going day by day until we figure out the right thing to do for everyone. I'd love to try to keep Tosca in the family, but I'm not sure it's the right thing or not...I need to look at all the options and try to do the right thing.
Thank you for any positive input/thoughts you can give me to help deal with this. I should add that I do not believe for a second Tosca's bite was a result of a physical matter. We are going to the vet (as required by law from all dog bites), but I really think Colton just did something to provoke her. She has been acting totally normal since the incident, we have just obviously been keeping the two of them apart.
This is so hard, and I am hoping I can get some help and support here, which ever route we decide to take.
Thank you for updating!! Please still send them if you can, DH's project is going well, I'm not sure how many he has, but I know more will always be appreciated, if not this year, for next year. I know he didn't get as many as he had hoped, so it's great if you can still send them!
I am sorry to hear about your loss, since having a baby and starting school again, I haven't been on here nearly as much as I wish I could be, everything is so busy…but it's a good busy so I can't complain