Fear biting issues.

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Postby Libby » June 25th, 2006, 6:34 pm

Ok so we all know about Mexi, the puppy I rescued right? Well, today she kind of had a major relapse. I had her outside, to let her potty and run around for a while. Well, when we went back to the house, she was standing in front of the door, with her back to me. I bent over and grabbed her, and it scared the poop out of her..literally. She then turned and chomped onto my arm, and she would NOT let go. I tried to pry her mouth open to get her off, but she just turned her attention to my other hand then. So, I ended up having to flatten her on the ground and basically rip my arm out of her mouth. She took off running as soon as I let go of her, and she wouldn't come to me. She would come when I called, to within 10 feet, but when I would try to coax her closer, she would run away again.

I don't blame her one bit, it was stupid of me to grab her like that. I'm just wondering how I should treat this. Should I punish her, and if so, how? I had my brother go out and catch her, and put her in the crate. I went in after he caught her and took all the toys and goodies out, so all she had was water and a blanket. She was sweet at me, licking me hands and groveling, so I think she was apologizing.

Anyway, any advice is appreciated. I've never delt with this before.


I just copied and pasted that from another forum. Let me elaborate. Mexico(Or Mexi, as I fondly call her) is a stray puppy I brought home. She had been lying on the side of a road, nearly dead. So, I nursed her back to health, and she has been really good. She was extremely fearful and shy at first, but she has been slowly coming around. I think I got ahead of myself today, and scared her. She is only 10-14 weeks old.

If you have any questions, please ask!


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Postby Maryellen » June 25th, 2006, 8:08 pm

she got scared, and reacted.. you cant punish her because they only remember the moment, i would just remember to not scare her, and start over with her.. can you get her in the house with food?? or maybe when she is outside put a leash on her so that you dont scare her again, she was probably abused , which could be why she reacted the way she did
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Postby Libby » June 25th, 2006, 8:16 pm

Thats what I figure too. I decided not to punish her, because she didn't do anything wrong, really. I'm going to treat her like its the first day, and take it more slowly than I had been.

I took her back outside about a half hour ago, and let her run around with my dogs, and then, when it came time to come back into the house, she got within a few feet of the door, then stopped. She went and sat at the corner of the yard and just stared. So, I called Gypsy and Lucy in, and went in myself, and closed the door. She stayed out there for about three minutes, then I opened the door again, had the dogs go back outside, then called Mexico and them to come in. She did, but she was very fearful of coming through.

She was afraid of me for a few minutes in the house, but after I just sat and gently pet her on the head for a few minutes, she calmed down and started being my buddy again. Hopefully, this is an issue we can overcome.


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Postby Purple » June 25th, 2006, 8:35 pm

Sounds like you need to build up her confidence.
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Postby Malli » June 25th, 2006, 8:47 pm

What about a little positive only training? Would it be too early for that?

Are your arm and your hand ok? Keep an eye on how they heal...
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Postby Libby » June 25th, 2006, 8:49 pm

I'm doing everything positive. I haven't scolded her for anything. I use a soft voice, I make slow movements. I've basically been doing positive reinforcement from the start. I think she thinks her name is 'Good Girl' and not 'Mexi'.

My hand and arm are ok, she only broke the skin in a few spots. They sting like crazy, but I cleaned them and put bandaides on immediately after it happened.



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Postby Purple » June 25th, 2006, 9:00 pm

Just take your time, celebrate the small victories quietly.
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Postby mnp13 » June 25th, 2006, 9:08 pm

How long have you had her? Poor little girl had a rough start of it...

I think what you did was the right thing the second time. Let the other dogs in, wait, let them out and have her come in with them. I wouldn't coddle her over it, you both had a setback and it sounds like you are taking care of it. I would have been pretty scared too!

You might consider not letting her run free at all for a week or two. Keep her on a long line so that you can bring her in without any problems.
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Postby Libby » June 25th, 2006, 9:28 pm

I've had her one week today, so not long at all. And yeah, I have been putting her on a lead when I let her outside now. I took her out and played a little ball with her, to get her used to it again. She LOVES the ball. She got more comfortable coming up to me again, and let me ruffle her ears like I had been doing.

Its been suggested that I let a behaviorist look at her. Is there an age limit where they can actually evaluate their temperments? 10-14 weeks seems awful young to be able to tell! And also, what are the prices of good behaviorists? I don't have a whole lot of money I can spend on this puppy, as much as I'd like to do everything possible for her.


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Postby Purple » June 26th, 2006, 9:48 am

I'd tell you to give her a little more time if you only had her a week.
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Postby Maryellen » June 26th, 2006, 9:51 am

i agreee. let her settle in before you call a behaviorist.. give her a few more weeks, and see how it goes..
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Postby mnp13 » June 26th, 2006, 11:15 am

I'm not big on behaviorists, many (not all) are behaviorists because they say they are behaviorists.

I'd give her time to settle in, if she is heistant to come in to the house, go in and let her stay out - then play with her ball in full view of the door. That may help.
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Postby realpitbull » June 26th, 2006, 11:30 am

Personally, I find it a HUGE iproblem that this young pup reacted so strongly to being startled. Being caught off guard is one thing, but reacting to the extent that she did is a concern for me.

Ketra, is there anyone in your area that knows the breed that can eval. her for you? I understand that this pup had a rough start, but it's not an excuse, not in this breed, especially in a puppy so young.

If you are going to look for a "behaviorist", ask for credentials. You need a college degree (at least a masters) to be a real behaviorist. Many trainers nowadays with no real understanding of behaviorism call themselves this, and it is entirely false advertising as far as I am concerned.

A trainer that is well grounded in learning theory and operant conditioning techniques will be invaluable for you. You don't necessarily need a "behaviorist".
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Postby mnp13 » June 26th, 2006, 11:34 am

A dog that was thrown at the side of the road to die has probably had a less than ideal early life. I don't take into account the breed here. I would hazard a guess that she was grabbed from behind like that and then hurt in some way, that much fear is a sad thing.
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Postby realpitbull » June 26th, 2006, 12:35 pm

mnp13 wrote:A dog that was thrown at the side of the road to die has probably had a less than ideal early life. I don't take into account the breed here. I would hazard a guess that she was grabbed from behind like that and then hurt in some way, that much fear is a sad thing.


Well, let me explain where I am coming from....

I evaluate dogs for rescues/shelters, and 9 times out of 10, there is no real history on the dog. I have to go with what I am shown by the dog, behavior-wise. If a dog I was evaluating reacted with such fear, and not only fear but with aggression to the point of "latching on" to my arm and needing to be pried off, the dog would get a big, fat, red X on the eval form. I can't make excuses. Maybe the dog was abused, may be not. But regardless, there is a certain level of tolerance I expect from members of this breed. Many rescue dogs have been abused; but that's what makes this breed so special--thier levels of tolerance for people, despite abuse and despite pain and fear.

The behavior Ketra described was extreme, especially so for a pup. I'm not suggesting give the dog up, not at this juncture. But I definitely think the bite needs to be viewed as serious and problematic and atypical, and she should be working with someone who can guide her along the way.
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Postby realpitbull » June 26th, 2006, 12:41 pm

I also want to add that this wasn't a snap and release. I would have expected a fearful pup to bite/release, bite/release. Or snap and then try to get away, or snap and then recover quickly when she realized who/what was behind her. A fearful dog does not "latch on" and refuse to let go.
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Postby mnp13 » June 26th, 2006, 12:55 pm

She had been lying on the side of a road, nearly dead


That is a 100% clear indicator of abuse to me. And it is not a stretch to say that abuse would probably have extended to physical abuse.
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Postby Maryellen » June 26th, 2006, 1:00 pm

this pup is a shepherd mix.. not a pit bull
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Postby Maryellen » June 26th, 2006, 1:01 pm

ketra can you post the pups picture here??
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Postby realpitbull » June 26th, 2006, 1:02 pm

mnp13 wrote:
She had been lying on the side of a road, nearly dead


That is a 100% clear indicator of abuse to me. And it is not a stretch to say that abuse would probably have extended to physical abuse.


:|

Not saying it's not abuse. The point is, it's the behavior that you see that matters, not the past. Waving this behavior away because the dog was abused is not something I'd be likely to do. It's serious, regardless of 'why' she's doing it. All that really matters is that she DID do it.
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