Concerned about Sherman - pushiness(?)/bit me

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Postby mnp13 » January 28th, 2009, 9:48 pm

hugapitbull wrote:Don't you know anyone you really don't like you could send to do that evaluation? It would be a lot more satisfying than getting bit yourself. :wink:


lol

You have a good point there, but unfortunately, no.
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Postby furever_pit » January 29th, 2009, 12:55 am

mnp13 wrote:o-u-c-h

One thing to consider, though what he did is 100% unacceptable, make no mistake about it - he could have sent you to the hospital if he had wanted to.

He's being an ass, but these are all warnings, nothing more... yet. And without intervention, I'm going to guess that eventually you will end up with a serious injury.


I will also second the question about your trainer. She may be EXCELLENT in "normal" training situations, but in my opinion this has crossed the line from "normal." Unless she has dealt with an issue like this specifically I would seek out another trainer for this issue.

I have an evaluation next week and I fully expect that I'm going to get bit. I can't do much about it, if I don't see the behavior I can't work on fixing it. :| I'm hoping that I won't get bit (of course) but if the owner's decsriptions of the behaviors are accurate - and I have no reason to think they are not - then I'm gonna get nailed. In my opinion, it's part of working with dogs with real issues.


+ a lot.

When I first got Dylan we had our fair share of...um, scuffles. While I ended up with bruises and broken skin in a handful of situations, nothing was ever more than a warning...Dylan really could have hurt me had he chosen to, but he never did. Once I started to really look at the situation and start looking to other folks for their opinions I realized that I had accelerated the relationship too fast. It wasn't my fault, and it most certainly wasn't Dylan's, I just didn't really know what I had if that makes sense. I guess when it comes to it I thought he would just automatically trust me cause that's what dogs are supposed to do...wrong.

I don't even know if it's the same thing with Sherman, but with Dylan I had to really back off on the corrections and demands for certain behaviors. For example, I stopped asking him to down for quite some time because he was so uncomfortable with it. Anyway, once I stopped demanding that he give me behaviors that he was uncomfortable with he started to trust me. I don't know if this helps or if I am just rambling...I hope it has helped. :oops:

You and Sherman are in my thoughts.
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Postby HappyPuppy » February 2nd, 2009, 12:43 pm

We met with our instructor on Friday. She did not evaluate Sherman (as I thought she might) but coached us on what WE were doing and shoudl do.... She doesn't think he is 'aggressive' but is challenging us. I've been forgetting that he is probably only 2 years old-ish. He's obviously fully developed but is probably like a 14 year old boy.... I acknowledge that neither he or Ruby has probably been getting enough exercise. We can get away with that with Ruby more or less and have been treating Sherman like Ruby but obviously it is not enough. So, since Friday, I've started biking with them both 15-25 mins TWICE a day (grumble grumble) and I found a $60 human treadmill on Saturday on CR (I love Craigs List!). Yeah, it's human but my husband has walked a couple of miles on it already and I was hoping we could also use it (I did see a human manual treadmill for $80 on CR, too, and was VERY tempted but we're limited on space....) I'm soooo afraid they won't take to the treadmill. Been putting treats on it and getting them on it with it off. Been turning it on super low and treating when they come close (Ruby is afraid of the noise and movement but prev vacuum noise fears are playing a part, I think). Both of them have stepped on it with 1 or 2 feet while running on low and Sherman was just like 'WTH... where's my treat?' but Ruby freaked a little. I'm afraid of rushing them.... We haven't made any sides yet. I was trying to get DH to help me make a carpet mill (he could do it) but he doesn't want to....

She's having us employ the 'formula': Exercise, Discipline, Reward (I think she's a Ceasar fan).

We've gone back to crating Sherman overnights (DH wanted to eliminate that after 3 weeks with Sherman and I think that too soon). We are not petting him nearly as much as we were or even looking at him that much either. We are also making both of them sit before going in and out of the house - he's resisting/lagging on some of those sit commands and ignored me 4 times on our short walk this morning to down but finally did it as I did not give up.

I can't figure out how to work everything in since I'm doing most of it 1 dog at a time. DH is going to get his bike out and see if we can save time running both dogs in the morning. But I got up early this morning (and I am NOT a morning person) and still ran out time with two 15 min bike rides and I didn't get to walk Ruby and only walked Sherman half way down our block and back this morning just to practice some obedience - so our 30 min morning walk (that benefitted us!) may now be a thing of the past...(?)

We are hoping that more structure and exercise will also help with his incessant whining ... I didn't figure there was anything we could do about that but here's hoping....

I shouldn't have told my mom about last weeks class/biting since she's worried now and thinks I'm making excuses for him and is worried about us. I just want to get to the bottom of it and it sounds like it is a lot of what we have been doing with relation to his age and personality and we've been treating him like Ruby but they are 2 very different dogs....

We have class again on Tuesday nite and it will be cold (for Sherman) - I'm not sure what triggered his attitude in class except the cold as (I think) he seems fine around people and dogs out on our walks. Our instructor said she'd pull him from class early tomorrow if he does 'it' again - I think I will wear 3 long sleve layers instead of the 2 I had last week as my arm is still sore.

Do we sound like we're on the right track?
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 2nd, 2009, 12:49 pm

I'm not a fan of the Cesar approach...except for the exercise part. This plan of action seems a bit..."run them into the ground and then they'll be too tired to put up a fuss" for my taste, but that's me. ;)

How much help did she give you on the day-to-day interactions, and what to do if he does have an aggressive incident again. (regardless of the "nature" of the aggression) What are you using to reward, and what are you using to discipline?

I'm still a little worried about the "discipline" part, I guess. I hate fighting fire with fire. Treating aggression with aggression gets people bit most of the time.
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Postby HappyPuppy » February 2nd, 2009, 1:16 pm

For the 'discipline', she said it could be just like our daily walk with some basic obedience/commands. That's how I've been looking at it - just more obedience drills.... (?) She broke it down this way:
bike ride first (exercise), then walk w/ some obedience practice (discipline), then feed breakfast (reward) - apparently throwing the ball is more reward than exercise...? I haven't elaborated yet (any ideas?) out of this scenario......

I forgot to ask (darnit - I meant to!) and she did not suggest what to do if he goes off again.... :?

TheRedQueen wrote:I'm not a fan of the Cesar approach...except for the exercise part. This plan of action seems a bit..."run them into the ground and then they'll be too tired to put up a fuss" for my taste, but that's me. ;)

How much help did she give you on the day-to-day interactions, and what to do if he does have an aggressive incident again. (regardless of the "nature" of the aggression) What are you using to reward, and what are you using to discipline?

I'm still a little worried about the "discipline" part, I guess. I hate fighting fire with fire. Treating aggression with aggression gets people bit most of the time.
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Postby BigDogBuford » February 2nd, 2009, 1:56 pm

Whenever I have a dog that's acting up and needing some boot camp, I always practice obedience with a well behaved dog and crate the pushy dog and make him watch while the other dog and I have SO MUCH FUN working on being good.
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 2nd, 2009, 2:46 pm

I'm concerned by the apparent "cookie cutter" approach...I mean, this plan is good for all dogs...obedience, excercise, sure...more of those things are great. :| But to not give you a plan of action if he becomes aggressive again...she's not really working on the problem itself. She's not giving you a full toolbox to work with a potentially dangerous dog. :neutral:
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Postby Malli » February 2nd, 2009, 4:17 pm

umm, I've been doing fetch (with a ball) with Oscar and also training with a ball with Oscar for YEARS, and trust me when I say, the ball never gets old :|
Oscar will tell you, he's so keen on his ball that he'll yell a me and try to take it from me if he thinks its past reward time :rolleyes2:
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Postby mnp13 » February 3rd, 2009, 1:45 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:I'm concerned by the apparent "cookie cutter" approach...I mean, this plan is good for all dogs...obedience, excercise, sure...more of those things are great. :| But to not give you a plan of action if he becomes aggressive again...she's not really working on the problem itself. She's not giving you a full toolbox to work with a potentially dangerous dog. :neutral:

I agree fully. It sounds like she's reading from the bratty dog manual "exercise, some obedience, the world gets better" That's not applicable to all circumstances, and I don't think - from what you've said here - it is at all applicable to yours. Exercise and obedience is important for the behavior of ALL dogs.

HappyPuppy wrote:She did not evaluate Sherman (as I thought she might) but coached us on what WE were doing and shoudl do

BIG red flag for me. I evaluated a dog yesterday that was quite fearful, but mostly forward fear and by the end of the hour, it was very apparent that he was more of a bully than anything else. He's used to scaring people away when he charges them. I didn't move, though I didn't make eye contact or stand square to him. He spent a LOT of time yelling at me because of resource guarding but that was even if I was 50 feet away from his "resource" he charged repeatedly but until the very end did not touch me. I was walking away from him and he chased. I stopped and he bumped me in the back of the leg with his nose, then kept barking and carring on.

Had I not pushed some of his buttons, there is NO WAY that I could have made the assessments that I made. The family has a good deal of homework similar to what you have to do... the differenct is that I assessed the dog to find out what he needed. She just made something up based on cookie cutter training.

btw This dog is perfectly "fixable" and I think will progress quickly once he learns that he doesn't have to be a bully, his family can take care of keeping him safe from the outside world. I'm not trashing the family or the dog in ANY way.

HappyPuppy wrote:She doesn't think he is 'aggressive' but is challenging us.

and how on earth could che know that without actually seeing what he's doing. I evaluated a "veyr aggressive" Pit Bull last year. She screamed and yelled at people, lunging and straining at the leash. She was relentless when she saw someone new. After 10 seconds of this, I told her owner to drop the leash. I had to tell her more than a few times before she just did it. The dogs charged me, tail wagging, licking me to death. All of her "uncontrolled aggression" was a desprate need for attention. They were considering putting her down because she "wanted to bite people." YOUR assesment of his behavior may have been right on the money, or completely wrong. The fact that the trainer didn't bother to deal with it first hand is a big problem for me. Yes, she saw some if it in class, but dogs may act very very different in a class setting with mom on the other end of the leash.

HappyPuppy wrote:only walked Sherman half way down our block and back this morning just to practice some obedience

How long does it take you to do that short of a walk? Just be careful that you are not demanding iron clad obedience for a long time. I have found that some dogs will act out because they just can't handle it for that long. Even high level obedience dogs get a short break between exercises, even if it's just a pat on the head or jumping up on the owner for a second.

HappyPuppy wrote:We have class again on Tuesday nite and it will be cold (for Sherman) - I'm not sure what triggered his attitude in class except the cold as (I think) he seems fine around people and dogs out on our walks. Our instructor said she'd pull him from class early tomorrow if he does 'it' again - I think I will wear 3 long sleve layers instead of the 2 I had last week as my arm is still sore.

Why would the room temperature affect him in this way? Just curious on why you feel that way. 3 layers isn't going to do much for you if he decides to bite. Decoys get hurt through bite suits all the time, and they are made specifically to lessen damage from bites. the hardest thing to do, but the most effective is to not jerk your arm away from him if he comes at you. You will then add prey response and that just makes things worse. Had I run from the dog yesterday, jerked my arm away or given him any fast response things may have gotten un-fun. I could walk away from him and he would follow, but I avoided adding in prey to the mess.

I really think you need to look into a trainer who doesn't think the dog world follows a formula. Different breeds need different training techniques, just as different dogs of the same breed need different assessments and training plans even for the same problem.
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 3rd, 2009, 2:02 pm

I really think you need to look into a trainer who doesn't think the dog world follows a formula. Different breeds need different training techniques, just as different dogs of the same breed need different assessments and training plans even for the same problem.


I did send some trainer recommendations to HP...all are behavior consultants...so check your PMs, HP!

And yeah, I do evaluations all of the time, and I ALWAYS meet the dog...I usually try and set it up so it's close to the environment that they have trouble in also. I want to see how they behave, and what triggers the behaviors.

ETA...I'm not sure I'd be taking him to class either, unless you can guarantee that he's not going to bite someone else. Taking the bites yourself is one thing, but can you guarantee that he's not going to land a bite on someone else in his displaced aggression...dog or person? I think I'd be holding off on class until a good trainer/behaviorist can check him out. Or at the very least, muzzle him for class.
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Postby mnp13 » February 3rd, 2009, 2:26 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:Or at the very least, muzzle him for class.

If this is fear based, I would avoid that at all costs. Christine did it with Mick because without chemo treatments he would have died, but for class? I wouldn't put the dog through it. Getting muzzle punched hurts a lot and if he knocks you over he could hurt you quite badly if he wanted to, muzzle or not.
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 3rd, 2009, 2:29 pm

mnp13 wrote:
TheRedQueen wrote:Or at the very least, muzzle him for class.

If this is fear based, I would avoid that at all costs. Christine did it with Mick because without chemo treatments he would have died, but for class? I wouldn't put the dog through it. Getting muzzle punched hurts a lot and if he knocks you over he could hurt you quite badly if he wanted to, muzzle or not.


I'm just saying, if she really wants to take him to class (which I don't think is a good idea, as I said)...at least muzzle him. I just don't want to hear that Sherman bit someone else in class this week. Because he's re-directing this aggression...I can see him biting others too.

Honestly, I don't think he should be out in public, until this is addressed...and I don't think he should be muzzled either...but I just threw it out there as a "if you must" option. :|
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Postby mnp13 » February 3rd, 2009, 2:51 pm

gotcha. thanks for clarifying.
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 3rd, 2009, 2:54 pm

mnp13 wrote:gotcha. thanks for clarifying.

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Postby HappyPuppy » February 3rd, 2009, 5:52 pm

Thanks for the solid info, guys. Thanks for the PMs, too, I have printed them out.

Class is outside 7:30-8:30 pm and it in the mid to low 50s and even I was a little shivery toward the end. I'm going to wear my husband's 'hex-armor' arm guards for working on the car but they only go up to my elbows and I don't intend to give Sherman multiple chances like we did last week. I'll put him in the car if he does it at all - (but that may also be what he wants?). I hear you on the red flags - I was surprised she didn't want to spend even a few mins with him.

I want to at least start in class tonite. Should I have my husband handle him in class? I was trying to be consistent by me handling him (and I'd rather him bit me than my husband).

He's not been overtly challenging this week tho he's been very slow/resistant on some commands but eventually did them (like sitting before coming in the door). His frickin' feet have what I think are 'interdigital cysts' (thanks for that thread, Sys/Dr Blabs!) and he pretty much stopped toward the end if our ride last nite tho I kept him moving and came directly home. Time for a vet, I think since my alternating btwn neosporin and vinegar/hydrogen peroxide mixture isn't cutting it. :(
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Postby amazincc » February 3rd, 2009, 6:01 pm

HappyPuppy wrote: His frickin' feet have what I think are 'interdigital cysts'


PLEASE don't take offense at this, but... why would you take him to class at all??? Interdigital cysts are very painful for a dog, and his feet may be very, very sensitive. What if the cold ground really does bother him too much, or someone steps on his paw(s) by accident?
Could that be the reason he came at/bit you???

A dog in pain is most definitely not the most rational of animals.
I think getting him vet-checked should be your priority, addressing/modifying his behavior should come second.

Imagine walking around w/a horrible toothache, and having to "perform" on command. I know, not the greatest example... but you get my point. :wink:
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Postby mnp13 » February 3rd, 2009, 6:06 pm

I would not take him to class tonight. Take your other dog, or go without a dog. It's your call, but I think you are pushing it by bringing him back so soon and with little useful from the trainer.

I forgot about this:
HappyPuppy wrote:We've gone back to crating Sherman overnights (DH wanted to eliminate that after 3 weeks with Sherman and I think that too soon).

Sherman needs to be crated until Sherman learns to control himself and understand boundries. Once he is showing acceptable behavior consistantly, he needs to be in it for 4 more weeks.

I'm going to wear my husband's 'hex-armor' arm guards for working on the car but they only go up to my elbows

And if he goes for a leg this time? Or upper arm? or hand? or chest? If you are worred enough about him doing it again, that you will wear "armor" then you need to re-evaluate why you are doing it. I will never tell someone to put their dog down on the internet (yes, I'm embarassed to say I've done it before, but I've grown up a littl) but if things cintinue in this direction he is going to do someone serious damage.
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Postby amazincc » February 3rd, 2009, 6:40 pm

mnp13 wrote:And if he goes for a leg this time? Or upper arm? or hand? or chest? If you are worred enough about him doing it again, that you will wear "armor" then you need to re-evaluate why you are doing it. I will never tell someone to put their dog down on the internet (yes, I'm embarassed to say I've done it before, but I've grown up a little) but if things cintinue in this direction he is going to do someone serious damage.


Again - a dog in pain or physical discomfort is NOT going to be receptive to training or behavior modification. IF Sherman has interdigital cysts they might be inflammed, which is not always "visible", and he may - or may not - associate any corrections/etc. with the pain in his paw(s).
I think it's always a good course of action to rule out any and all physical/medical issues before even beginning to think about euthanizing a dog for behavioral issues.
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Postby HappyPuppy » February 3rd, 2009, 7:51 pm

OK. No class tonite. And we have a vet appt for tomorrow at 2pm! Pooey on the toes - puts a damper on burning off energy.

Will reconsider class for NEXT Tuesday after another week of more crating and NILF, etc. I'm going to look for 'Control Unleashed' (that was recommended).
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Postby amazincc » February 3rd, 2009, 8:06 pm

I knew I liked you for a reason!!! :wink:

I hope Shermz can get his paws taken care of tomorrow.

And "Control Unleashed" is a good book. I think Erin recommended it to me when I first joined here. :)
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