I may not be able to keep my girl
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Thread: I may not be able to keep my girl

  1. #1
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    DefaultI may not be able to keep my girl

    and dont know what my options are. She is fear/anxiety aggressive and we have four children ages 5, 7, 12, and 17. We got her from another family at 7 months and thought she was okay. She started to do little things that I think we over looked that could have clued us into some problems. But not being very good at reading her doggy signals we let things go on too far. She recently bit my son on the hand. After she did it she immediately went to her crate and had the MOSt pitiful, im sorry i dont know what happend look, on her face.

    She had half her body in the trash can and when he went to move the can she bit him. I think he scared her. She also used to corner my five year old. Just back her into a corner and sit really close to her until she called and i would come and make the dog release her.

    She also holds my 12 year old to one spot with her hackles raised when she comes home from school. I saw her do this and was totally freaked out because she wouldnt back down. We are talking to a behaviorist and he will be coming out for a consultation after the holidays. We are totally supervising the kids and the dog and when we leave in her crate she goes.

    She also guards my bed. its where she used to like to hang out until we got home, but when my 12 year old trid to come in my room, Dorie would growl at her. She is no longer allowed on the bed unless invited and when the kids come in she has to go.

    But if we cant fix this, what do i do? She is such an AWESOME little girl.

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  3. #2
    TobysTrix is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: I may not be able to keep my girl

    No advice here, but I'm sorry you're going through this. Hopefully the behaviorist will be able to help you all work through this and she'll be able to stay with you.
    Toby and Chamois say: GO STEELERS!
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  4. #3
    Trickster's Avatar
    Trickster is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: I may not be able to keep my girl

    What a tough situation.

    On one hand you want to help your girl but on another you don't know if you can ever trust her again.

    You have done the right thing by contacting a behaviorist. True aggression is a tricky subject...no one is really qualified to give you proper advice without actually seeing the dog in action. We would not want to give you the wrong advice as it could make the situation worse.

    Until you have a session with the behaviorist, you must continue to keep her away from the kids unless fully supervised as I know you already are. Another thing you might want to do is strip away all of her privileges -- start back to basics. NO couch/bed...she sleeps on her own bed or on the floor. NO fuss or playtime unless you make her work for it. You can even try hand feeding to reduce her anxiety around food.

    Good luck...I hope you get this sorted.

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  6. #4
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    DefaultRe: I may not be able to keep my girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Trickster
    What a tough situation.

    On one hand you want to help your girl but on another you don't know if you can ever trust her again.

    You have done the right thing by contacting a behaviorist. True aggression is a tricky subject...no one is really qualified to give you proper advice without actually seeing the dog in action. We would not want to give you the wrong advice as it could make the situation worse.

    Until you have a session with the behaviorist, you must continue to keep her away from the kids unless fully supervised as I know you already are. Another thing you might want to do is strip away all of her privileges -- start back to basics. NO couch/bed...she sleeps on her own bed or on the floor. NO fuss or playtime unless you make her work for it. You can even try hand feeding to reduce her anxiety around food.

    Good luck...I hope you get this sorted.
    we were leaving her food down all day, but i read that if she doenst touch it in the first ten minutes we should put it away. Ive also given the little ones the responsiblity to actually put the food in front of her in the afternoons. We have made a lot of mistakes with her and inadvertantly awarded some of this behavior.

    When she demands attention like bumping our hands with her head or repeatedly giving her paw in the sit position when we ignore her, we used to think ohhhh how cute and pet her. Now we ignore her until she stops. Im just learning so much and i hope its not too late.

  7. #5
    luke from georgia is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: I may not be able to keep my girl

    i agree with trickser. i think getting help from a behaviorist is the best thing you can do right now.
    that way, you'll have someone right there with you, and they will be able to see and evaluate your dog in person and explain your options, provide advise on how to resolve the problems, etc. getting opinions on the internet can be helpful, but it can also make things worse if the opinions/advise doesn't actually fit the reality of your situation. i hope you get good, helpful information and insight.

    "Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford

  8. #6
    Trickster's Avatar
    Trickster is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: I may not be able to keep my girl

    we were leaving her food down all day, but i read that if she doenst touch it in the first ten minutes we should put it away. Ive also given the little ones the responsiblity to actually put the food in front of her in the afternoons. We have made a lot of mistakes with her and inadvertantly awarded some of this behavior.
    Never, ever free feed. Firstly, by free feeding you can't monitor your dogs intake. Secondly, you are creating a picky dog that eats whenever she feels like it. Finally and perhaps most importantly, food is such a powerful thing to a dog, SHE thinks she has control over it, thus putting her in a 'higher' position within household. Because she is used to eating whenever she wants, if someone tries to take food away from her she sees no reason why she should she give it up. She shows her displeasure at you coming near her food by displaying aggression...growling/biting is her way of communicating that the food is hers. This is probably why she bit your son when he removed her from the trash.

  9. #7
    dogmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: I may not be able to keep my girl

    I would also suggest a full medical work-up including a thyroid panel. And being that she is intact COULD cause behavioral changes. She should be spayed.

  10. #8
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    DefaultRe: I may not be able to keep my girl

    Quote Originally Posted by dogmom
    I would also suggest a full medical work-up including a thyroid panel. And being that she is intact COULD cause behavioral changes. She should be spayed.
    it is our intention to spay her but with so much conflicting information about when it is a good time, we decided to wait. We were taking into consideration cancer risk with growth problems. We have a huge yard and because she comes at will she is never off lease. She is two and has had 3 heat cycles so far so we are going to to it after the holidays.

  11. #9
    wyntercreek labradors uk Guest

    DefaultRe: I may not be able to keep my girl

    How we hate to hear this :SPAY HER AND ALL WILL BE WELL: no it wont; she needs to be looked at very closely with a professional behaviorist in attendance.
    Never free feed a dog, and our advice to anyone when they first acquire a dog is to feed it and constantly stroke its back and the top of its head if it shows any sign of THIS IS MINE GO AWAY OR ELSE by a snarl or growl remove the food straight away.
    You are telling the dog :You are eating here because I allow you to and I am the boss not you;this is even more important if you have two dogs eating at the same time, sometimes the dominant one will growl at the other and hog all the food, do not allow this. when we have new puppies we always feed from the same bowl and we stroke them at the same time they eat and their tails do not stop wagging, if one looks like its getting more or its showing any sign of aggression we remove it until the others have eaten a good part of the food we then allow the aggressive one to come to the bowl, You would be astounded how quickly they realize that aggression means no dinner.
    so when they go to their new homes they have already learned one valuable lesson If I am aggressive I don't eat,, Who knows any Labrador that does not like food???
    from http://www.wyntercreeklabradors.com

  12. #10
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    DefaultRe: I may not be able to keep my girl

    i just went down to see if the kids had fed her and they had. there was a fill bowl of food and she didnt seem too interested so i picked it up. She looked around and stood there, with the "what happened to my food look on her face", lol

    I am having the behaviorlist come out, but what has been really helpful as i tell about our interactions is that you guys are helping me see the very subtle messages we are sending her that she is other than the omega, lol.

    I am comforted (should i be?) that she is not aggressive all the time or even every day or even in the same situations. I know she sees my younger three as low level litter mates and we are trying to change that.


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