Concerned about Sherman - pushiness(?)/bit me

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Postby TheRedQueen » February 3rd, 2009, 10:37 pm

I am glad to hear that he'll be getting a trip to the vet...hopefully that will make him feel much better! I still vote for getting a new trainer, and a new regime installed...I just don't think MORE exercise is gonna cut it. You need to know what to do if he has an aggressive episode, how to manage him in public and how to prevent it from happening again.

Control Unleashed is a great book, but a good trainer will be able to help you with the exercises. It's not really set up for aggression, more for dogs that are out-of-control and can't focus in class settings.
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Postby BullyLady » February 3rd, 2009, 10:40 pm

I have to echo the sentiments voiced here HP, you need to find out WHY Sherman is acting like this, otherwise you risk outbursts at times when you least expect it. And well, that's just plain dangerous.
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Postby Malli » February 4th, 2009, 5:24 am

I'm glad you are taking him in,

and PLEASE, PLEASE tell them at the vet about his recent issues. If he seems like a sensitive guy, then mention it and he may get extra pain meds and sedatives to help him handle it ;)
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 4th, 2009, 10:26 am

I forgot to ask...did the rescue/shelter know any details that might explain this behavior? What have they said about it...do they have anyone to refer you to for help?
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Postby katiek0417 » February 4th, 2009, 12:41 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:I forgot to ask...did the rescue/shelter know any details that might explain this behavior? What have they said about it...do they have anyone to refer you to for help?


I was just thinking that, Erin! Most rescues/shelters have resources that they can refer you to...

Also, I am curious to find out if something occurred that would make him react as he does...

And, Erin, you're right...you can't fight fire with fire...In addition, some behaviors may be too "forcing" for him, and even though you don't see a problem with doing it, the dog sees it differently based on history...I know someone who got a dog back from a department after he ate his handler - he was doing MOTIVATIONAL (with HOT DOGS) downs, and the dog tried to come after him...(turns out his previous handler was forcing the down with the dog when he got eaten up)...
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Postby HappyPuppy » February 4th, 2009, 7:23 pm

So we saw the vet today - she muzzled him when I told her about his behavior in class.... :( We got antibiotics for his toes and some soaking solution AND had a full blood panel taken - will get the results tomorrow. :)

Just took Ruby to class last nite (she did GREAT!) and we will look further into getting him evaluated....
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Postby cheekymunkee » February 4th, 2009, 8:16 pm

I hope his tests come back clear & I SO hope you can find the help you need with him.
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Postby HappyPuppy » February 4th, 2009, 11:20 pm

[(this thought started earlier: Oh, the vet (she spent a lot of time with me!) suggested cutting out or reducing the 'raw' dinners I feed (kibble AM and raw PM). She said that could be giving him too much protein/energy??? He’s not bounding off the walls, tho. I guess it couldn’t hurt to try it for awhile.]


Well, crap. He just bit my husband and made 2 punctures and a skin tear. He said he didn’t think Sherman bit that hard because there doesn’t appear to be much bruising and it didn’t tear his sweatshirt – husband’s skin is frustratingly thin btw. (He doesn’t want to keep him now).

I do not want to feel like a failure because we don’t know how to handle his biting us but my husband doesn’t want to spend thousands of dollars chasing what is becoming dangerous (to us). The vet today was $200 and trainer consult $85 –what is reasonable here?

We have not yet sought out a more qualified trainer/behaviorist. I like our trainer a lot and she has her own behaviorist biz but admitted that she has no formal training – just a lot of hands on experience and the ‘1000s of books’ she’s read. You guys saw some red flags that she didn’t evaluate Sherman when she came over and that she gave us the generic (Cesar?) ‘formula’ to follow of exercise-discipline-reward but didn’t give us a plan for ‘if he did it again’. Maybe we don’t have enough experience for Sherman (?) – he’s awesome 98% of the time. I still don’t know that/if he is truly ‘aggressive’ maybe we are not the 'right' owners for him ?

Tonite my husband had just played fetch with him until he was about to stop and then ended the game and came inside. About 10 mins later I took Ruby out to play fetch and left the gate open to our lawn since Sherman was inside. After awhile, my husband came out with Sherman (thankfully on the prong) and I stopped playing with Ruby and put the toy under my legs. They stood at the opening to our lawn area for awhile where Ruby and I were and then did a heeling lap and went back out of the yard. They came back for another lap – I think by then Ruby had stolen the toy and moved it out into the lawn by then). So they started another lap and half way thru Sherman did what he did to me in class: continuing to jump up and bite at his arm. My husband had been planning his defense in case Sherman did this again and quickly put him in a choke hold which turned into an alpha roll (we have never alpha rolled Sherman) and I don’t know that my husband really meant to intentionally) – he said he did not fight it at all. (I told him I thought it was a little premature for that……. :x )

I know there are so many bomb proof dogs out there – I don’t know how much work we are ‘supposed’ to put into a rescue dog that bites us or how much we have contributed by our handling??? We’ve basically treated him like Ruby and tho she is dominant over Sherman she is 100% submissive to us and just a gem - everyone adores her). I don’t really want to give up on Sherman but I feel 10000% safe around Ruby in ALL situations and I feel like we are walking on eggshells with Sherman trying to avoid situations that might set him off.

What is reasonable here? As neat as he has been, I don’t feel the same ‘love’ right now. :confused:
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Postby mnp13 » February 4th, 2009, 11:49 pm

HappyPuppy wrote:So we saw the vet today - she muzzled him when I told her about his behavior in class.... :( We got antibiotics for his toes and some soaking solution AND had a full blood panel taken - will get the results tomorrow. :)


Has he acted up while at the vet's office before? Does he have a history of problems there? If not, find a new vet while you're looking for that new trainer.
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Postby mnp13 » February 5th, 2009, 12:00 am

ok... just read your next post....

If you don't have the resources to work with him and/or if you will not be comfortable with him, then there is only one solution for the problem.

If you feel that working on it is a reasonable short term goal then I would give you one piece of advice - dogs that can't breath can't bite. Lift up on the leash and wait for him to calm down. Grabbing him around the neck, pinning him and/or rolling him is extremely dangerous. For your own safety, and the safety of your husband please NEVER do that again. The damage to you and the dog could be extreme - in both the physical and emotional areas.

Don't feel trapped by this. You have options to work with him, however it will not be easy, it will not be fun, it will not be fast. If you can't make that commitment (for whatever reason) you will NOT be judged here. There is no easy solution to this. Whatever you decide we'll help you as best we can.
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Postby airwalk » February 5th, 2009, 12:05 am

I'm not a trainer, just the owner of a knothead that also liked to try to bite. In reading through here it appears to me that Sherman has trouble with his bite inhibition whenever he gets to a certain stimulation level.

His stimulation level appears to be relatively low (like my Magic). So he does fine when it is him and people in a quiet environment with nothing else really going on and nothing he feels that he needs to worry about..is that right? When I say worry - that doesn't necessarily mean be frightened of, but for instance, Ruby has a toy, now he worries, is he going to get to play, can he muscle his way into a game, can he stop paying attention now...that kind of thing.

I ask because Magic has a very low threshold for stimulation. After having him for two years, I still cannot get consistent focus and obedience whenever he is too tired, not tired enough, there are other dogs around, there is something better to sniff - unless he is ready to work. When I first got him he was more than willing to try to bite to get out of working or doing anything he didn't want to.

Does this sound like it might fit Sherman?
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Postby call2arms » February 5th, 2009, 12:53 am

Just my opinion, but when there's dogs that have attitude problems and bite their owners, there's no reason not to muzzle for safety when taking blood at the vet's.
A vet's job is not to get bitten (although it happens), it's to try and get the animal better. As someone who sees the dog a few hours a year perhaps, it's possible to get a good idea of the general behavior, but if there's behaviorial issues currently ongoing, the dog will not get "ruined" by being muzzled for tops 5 minutes while you poke.

If you suggest not to bring him in public in case he redirects at someone, although a vet exam might not trigger the behavior, why would the vet staff not be allowed to protect themselves when they have the dog 2 inches away from their faces?
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 5th, 2009, 1:09 am

Okay, I'm going to be completely honest. I don't think this is a good match for you guys. I'm not sure at this point that he's a good match for any family/individual. This is NOT something that you have done. I'm guessing that when he was turned in to rescue/shelter, that this was already happening and that his history was lied about.

Honestly, he is going to be a life-long project. He is most likely always going to need management at some level. He is not going to be a dog that you can trust around people...at least for a long time to come. This level of training and management is not going to be fast, easy or cheap, especially considering that you're coming into this with a small training toolbox. It's going to be a long road, and no one will blame you if you decide that this road is not one you want to travel. Having a dog with aggression issues (of any kind) is not for the faint-hearted, and you have to be completely committed to working on his behavior 24/7. Ask anyone here that has "problem" dogs, and they'll tell you the same thing.

And please, like Michelle said...be EXTREMELY careful about doing any sort of "wrestling" with him...no neck holds, no rolling, etc...this is just too dangerous for the humans involved.
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Postby Malli » February 5th, 2009, 4:45 am

mnp13 wrote:
HappyPuppy wrote:So we saw the vet today - she muzzled him when I told her about his behavior in class.... :( We got antibiotics for his toes and some soaking solution AND had a full blood panel taken - will get the results tomorrow. :)


Has he acted up while at the vet's office before? Does he have a history of problems there? If not, find a new vet while you're looking for that new trainer.


I disagree. Powerful dogs can do a lot of damage and if the aggression is not necessarily predictable (predictable being : the dog is fine until ___ is done) then its not exactly fair to the staff who have to handle the animal to ask them not to use a muzzle for uncomfortable (blood collection) handling.
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Postby Malli » February 5th, 2009, 4:51 am

call2arms wrote:Just my opinion, but when there's dogs that have attitude problems and bite their owners, there's no reason not to muzzle for safety when taking blood at the vet's.
A vet's job is not to get bitten (although it happens), it's to try and get the animal better. As someone who sees the dog a few hours a year perhaps, it's possible to get a good idea of the general behavior, but if there's behaviorial issues currently ongoing, the dog will not get "ruined" by being muzzled for tops 5 minutes while you poke.

If you suggest not to bring him in public in case he redirects at someone, although a vet exam might not trigger the behavior, why would the vet staff not be allowed to protect themselves when they have the dog 2 inches away from their faces?


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Postby katiek0417 » February 5th, 2009, 6:03 am

mnp13 wrote:ok... just read your next post....

If you don't have the resources to work with him and/or if you will not be comfortable with him, then there is only one solution for the problem.

If you feel that working on it is a reasonable short term goal then I would give you one piece of advice - dogs that can't breath can't bite. Lift up on the leash and wait for him to calm down. Grabbing him around the neck, pinning him and/or rolling him is extremely dangerous. For your own safety, and the safety of your husband please NEVER do that again. The damage to you and the dog could be extreme - in both the physical and emotional areas.

Don't feel trapped by this. You have options to work with him, however it will not be easy, it will not be fun, it will not be fast. If you can't make that commitment (for whatever reason) you will NOT be judged here. There is no easy solution to this. Whatever you decide we'll help you as best we can.



TheRedQueen wrote:Okay, I'm going to be completely honest. I don't think this is a good match for you guys. I'm not sure at this point that he's a good match for any family/individual. This is NOT something that you have done. I'm guessing that when he was turned in to rescue/shelter, that this was already happening and that his history was lied about.

Honestly, he is going to be a life-long project. He is most likely always going to need management at some level. He is not going to be a dog that you can trust around people...at least for a long time to come. This level of training and management is not going to be fast, easy or cheap, especially considering that you're coming into this with a small training toolbox. It's going to be a long road, and no one will blame you if you decide that this road is not one you want to travel. Having a dog with aggression issues (of any kind) is not for the faint-hearted, and you have to be completely committed to working on his behavior 24/7. Ask anyone here that has "problem" dogs, and they'll tell you the same thing.

And please, like Michelle said...be EXTREMELY careful about doing any sort of "wrestling" with him...no neck holds, no rolling, etc...this is just too dangerous for the humans involved.


:goodStuff: As someone who owned a dog not afraid to come up the line at his owners, I will tell you that it is a lifelong commitment to the dog.

Now, Rocky's issues were different, admittedly, but being on our guard, both for our own welfare, and the welfare of others was always imperative.

I had to be concerned with where I took him, who interacted with him (even in the house), and how I interacted with him. I had to be on my toes 100% of the time to make sure no one would get hurt.

It's not a failure to be unable to work with a dog like this. Even when you're prepared, and know what to do, it can take a very long time to see improvement (if it ever comes) - especially when the behavior can be unpredictable...
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Postby Marinepits » February 5th, 2009, 10:02 am

call2arms wrote:Just my opinion, but when there's dogs that have attitude problems and bite their owners, there's no reason not to muzzle for safety when taking blood at the vet's.
A vet's job is not to get bitten (although it happens), it's to try and get the animal better. As someone who sees the dog a few hours a year perhaps, it's possible to get a good idea of the general behavior, but if there's behaviorial issues currently ongoing, the dog will not get "ruined" by being muzzled for tops 5 minutes while you poke.

If you suggest not to bring him in public in case he redirects at someone, although a vet exam might not trigger the behavior, why would the vet staff not be allowed to protect themselves when they have the dog 2 inches away from their faces?


I agree 1,000%.
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Postby mnp13 » February 5th, 2009, 12:59 pm

Cleo had a lot of fear issues, and the vet made me put a muzzle on her once. Beforehand, she was a jerk in the waiting room, but was perfectly fine in the treatment room, after the muzzle she was a nightmare.

The vet isn't Ruby's favorite place, when I have a tech that is uncomfortable with her, I hold her head and blood draws are done with no issue. If I muzzled her to do it, her anxiety would go through the roof - making a somewhat easily handled situation nearly impossible (and I know this based on other issues that we have "forced" her into.)

I suppose I would have taken him home and gotten a sedative before going back. :|
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Postby amazincc » February 5th, 2009, 1:35 pm

Were you upset that the vet muzzled him??? :?

Like I told you before, I'm not a fan of muzzling a dog on principal or based on breed, or whatever... but if there is a known/past issue and the dog *might* go off on someone - by ALL means, keep the safety of everyone involved in handling the dog in mind.
Mick used to get a sedative AND I muzzled him for vet visits - it didn't make one bit of difference in how he would act towards "strangers" in the beginning, BUT it kept the vet and the techs relatively "safe" when they had to interact w/him.
W/a fear aggressive/unpredictable dog it's always better to err on the side of caution, IMO.

While I wasn't afraid of my dog (because he never gave me any reason to be), I was always very concerned about other peoples safety... it comes w/the territory of owning a dog who will bite when faced w/certain situations.

Other than that - you know that I will support you 100% w/whatever you decide to do. :hug3:


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Postby Malli » February 5th, 2009, 3:37 pm

mnp13 wrote:Cleo had a lot of fear issues, and the vet made me put a muzzle on her once. Beforehand, she was a jerk in the waiting room, but was perfectly fine in the treatment room, after the muzzle she was a nightmare.

The vet isn't Ruby's favorite place, when I have a tech that is uncomfortable with her, I hold her head and blood draws are done with no issue. If I muzzled her to do it, her anxiety would go through the roof - making a somewhat easily handled situation nearly impossible (and I know this based on other issues that we have "forced" her into.)

I suppose I would have taken him home and gotten a sedative before going back. :|


we muzzle dogs ALL the time(not that we muzzle them more then other practices, just due to our high volume of business) and rarely do I see a negative reaction to it. :| In fact, usually they calm down. I am all for giving most dogs a chance without a muzzle, IF (and a big IF) I can predict their negative reactions and then, if they do have one, be able to handle it.

You need to consider that not everyone is as capable as you Michelle, not all owners understand what it takes to adequately restrain their dog, or, are capable of providing that restraint.

And sedation can and does have some serious effects on the internal organs, particularly the liver and kidneys (GI tract slows down in some cases, too). Without knowing whats going on inside Sherman, it is MUCH MUCH safer for him to go with out sedation.

Oscar was muzzled once, a long time ago. They didn't know me or my dog and were lancing an abscess on his foot under only a local anesthetic. He isn't any worse off for it :| They saw me, a tiny little female owner, a gigantic Pit Bull, and a painful (potentially) procedure. He didn't need the muzzle, but, looking back, I can see why they used it just in case.
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