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  #1  
Old 11-09-2010, 11:58 PM
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Default Adopting a Rescue - Fear Biter

Has any one adopted a fear biting dog? is it hard to over come??


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  #2  
Old 11-10-2010, 12:11 AM
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We haven't adopted a fear biter but we have one. Matilda (our very first Chi) was socialized like crazy as a pup. Still, she began growling & nipping at 11 weeks of age. We tried for MONTHS to socialize her out of it & were never successful. She is a wonderful Chi but is afraid of a lot of things (thunder, riding, plastic bags) but her biggest pet peeve is stranger contact. She is great walking around town & around people & other dogs but the second someone reaches for her she'll try to run & hide. If she was cornered & approached she WOULD bite. Vet visits are not fun with her & the last visit she had to be muzzled after she almost bit the vet in the face, pooped all over her & nearly dove off the exam table (I happened to be very quick catch her). She now has an Rx for Xanax to take before going to the vet. It makes me sad but she lives a happy life...with limitations. If we have small kids around I'll put her away. When the girls have friends over they have strict instructions to let her come to them & to not EVER try to pick her up.

She will come to strangers after she's comfortable with them but rarely lets anyone pat her. Only a select few are able to. She has met a couple kids she's been comfortable enough letting pet her...not sure what it is about them that she likes but it's always a great feeling when she trusts someone new.

So yes, for some it is EXTREAMELY difficult to overcome it. We never were able to. Not saying with some it can't be done but for us we tried & it only got worse. I've recently found out that Matilda's mom is the same way (which is extreamely frustrating--I'd NEVER breed a dog with such severe fear aggression) so sometimes a big part of it has to do with genetics.

Anyway, that's our situation. Some Chi's may have just been poorly socialized & in those cases I think it would be easier to bring them out of it. But the cases where it's more genetic--I've not found anything that works.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:19 AM
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I saw her, shes super cute. Dont decide without meeting with her and talking to whoever evaluated her. BUT, my fiance adopted a very fearful dog from the humane society, before we met, when the dog was about 10 months old. In the three years that he had him, he bit 5 or 6 different people (roommates, friends, his brother) including me, three times. He was a lab, border collie, dalmation mix, about 70ish lbs. Every time he bit, he broke the skin, our friend has scars on his nose, and I have scars on my leg and in the palm of my hand, that bite needed stitches. Basically, a fearful dog is MUCH harder to help than one who is just plain aggressive. We worked with a number of trainers to try to help him. I should add that he attempted to bite me many, many more times, he just succeeded three times. He was afraid to go for walks, he was afraid to leave Drews (my fiance) room, he was afriad of new people, loud sounds, something different in the room, and even going outside. He was afraid of the kitchen, so he would only go out in the front yard, with Drew, or eventually, with me, and he shook the whole time. He peed when he was scared too, if you tried to take him outside for a walk, or into the kitchen, or even out of his room sometimes, he peed everywhere. If he was really really scared, he would poop. It was an involuntary thing, it just speaks to how very very frightened he was. Anyway, I could go on and on, in the end, Drew made the incredibly painful decision to have him put down. I would never want a dog who was that fearful again. Not only was he dangerous to us and to our guests, he was totally crippled by fear and had little quality of life. Also, Drew wasnt really able to enjoy him the way you should be able to enjoy a dog. He couldnt take him anywhere, and its hard to have a dog that NO ONE but you likes, because only Drew got to see the good side of him.
On the other hand, a chihuahua who bites is a much less serious problem than a 70 lb dog who bites. And that was just our experience. But it takes an incredible amount of time and patience, and its very slow going progress wise. Riley did get a little better, but not enough. Now, she may not be that bad, and its entirely possible that she could improve. Also, sometimes, animals behave very differently in shelters due to the stress than they would in the real world. Just be prepared to work really hard to help her. Fiddle would probably be helpful to her too. Im not saying dont do it, she may not be anything like Riley was, just go in with your eyes open.
Maybe someone else has had a more positive experience


Add- Just saw that you asked about with other dogs...often other dogs, outside of our household, disliked him bc they could tell he wasnt quite right, other male dogs often attacked him in fact, but we never had a problem with him being unkind to other dogs. Our roommate at the time had a weim/boxer x and we had Reese, and they all got on really well. Reese actually really liked Riley, and Riley always played really nicely with him from the time we got him at 3 months
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  #4  
Old 11-10-2010, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MChis View Post
We haven't adopted a fear biter but we have one. Matilda (our very first Chi) was socialized like crazy as a pup. Still, she began growling & nipping at 11 weeks of age. We tried for MONTHS to socialize her out of it & were never successful. She is a wonderful Chi but is afraid of a lot of things (thunder, riding, plastic bags) but her biggest pet peeve is stranger contact. She is great walking around town & around people & other dogs but the second someone reaches for her she'll try to run & hide. If she was cornered & approached she WOULD bite. Vet visits are not fun with her & the last visit she had to be muzzled after she almost bit the vet in the face, pooped all over her & nearly dove off the exam table (I happened to be very quick catch her). She now has an Rx for Xanax to take before going to the vet. It makes me sad but she lives a happy life...with limitations. If we have small kids around I'll put her away. When the girls have friends over they have strict instructions to let her come to them & to not EVER try to pick her up.

She will come to strangers after she's comfortable with them but rarely lets anyone pat her. Only a select few are able to. She has met a couple kids she's been comfortable enough letting pet her...not sure what it is about them that she likes but it's always a great feeling when she trusts someone new.

So yes, for some it is EXTREAMELY difficult to overcome it. We never were able to. Not saying with some it can't be done but for us we tried & it only got worse. I've recently found out that Matilda's mom is the same way (which is extreamely frustrating--I'd NEVER breed a dog with such severe fear aggression) so sometimes a big part of it has to do with genetics.

Anyway, that's our situation. Some Chi's may have just been poorly socialized & in those cases I think it would be easier to bring them out of it. But the cases where it's more genetic--I've not found anything that works.
Woah,

Thanks so much for replying and sharing! Yes I read when I was puppy hunting that Chi's are the only dogs that inherit temperment or something along those lines, thats why it was very important to meet the rents.

Fiddle bites now but it is play biting when we are mucking about (We were trying to get rid of all bite inhibition but my partner always encoraged it during play, so we only got her to the point of soft biting)

As this is a rescue I wouldnt know if it was a genetic thing or just from experience. How is she with you? Is she still timid/biting around you? or just new people?

Also, does this affect her behaviour in the pack? (I would simply DIE if anything happened to Fiddle)
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  #5  
Old 11-10-2010, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reese and Miley View Post
I saw her, shes super cute. Dont decide without meeting with her and talking to whoever evaluated her. BUT, my fiance adopted a very fearful dog from the humane society, before we met, when the dog was about 10 months old. In the three years that he had him, he bit 5 or 6 different people (roommates, friends, his brother) including me, three times. He was a lab, border collie, dalmation mix, about 70ish lbs. Every time he bit, he broke the skin, our friend has scars on his nose, and I have scars on my leg and in the palm of my hand, that bite needed stitches. Basically, a fearful dog is MUCH harder to help than one who is just plain aggressive. We worked with a number of trainers to try to help him. I should add that he attempted to bite me many, many more times, he just succeeded three times. He was afraid to go for walks, he was afraid to leave Drews (my fiance) room, he was afriad of new people, loud sounds, something different in the room, and even going outside. He was afraid of the kitchen, so he would only go out in the front yard, with Drew, or eventually, with me, and he shook the whole time. He peed when he was scared too, if you tried to take him outside for a walk, or into the kitchen, or even out of his room sometimes, he peed everywhere. If he was really really scared, he would poop. It was an involuntary thing, it just speaks to how very very frightened he was. Anyway, I could go on and on, in the end, Drew made the incredibly painful decision to have him put down. I would never want a dog who was that fearful again. Not only was he dangerous to us and to our guests, he was totally crippled by fear and had little quality of life. Also, Drew wasnt really able to enjoy him the way you should be able to enjoy a dog. He couldnt take him anywhere, and its hard to have a dog that NO ONE but you likes, because only Drew got to see the good side of him.
On the other hand, a chihuahua who bites is a much less serious problem than a 70 lb dog who bites. And that was just our experience. But it takes an incredible amount of time and patience, and its very slow going progress wise. Riley did get a little better, but not enough. Now, she may not be that bad, and its entirely possible that she could improve. Also, sometimes, animals behave very differently in shelters due to the stress than they would in the real world. Just be prepared to work really hard to help her. Fiddle would probably be helpful to her too. Im not saying dont do it, she may not be anything like Riley was, just go in with your eyes open.
Maybe someone else has had a more positive experience
Thanks for sharing! So sad to hear this dog was so fearful of so many things.
Do you know what it was from at all? Its hard with shelter dogs, you have no clue about what they have been through.

This is definately an eye opener. Not being able to leave his room, how terrible. And yes, it is hard having a dog no one else loves. my OH's mum has two dogs no one really likes because they are spoilt and not trained at all. Not even theyre names! and Its hard to be nice to them (I quietly blame her tho!)

I am also hoping Fiddle would be a help. Sort of Monkey see Monkey do?

I will be looking at her this saturday, the pound said I can bring Fiddle along, but I am not sure, they said she has not bitten other dogs, but still.... you dont know?

She has been there for 2 weeks with no interest in her. I am worried that she will be put down! How long do they usually keep animals?
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  #6  
Old 11-10-2010, 12:59 AM
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We dont know much about his history, presumably he was mistreated, but he may have just become a bit "unhinged" from his time in the shelter, some animals are able to tolerate that environment better than others. He was very sad. At first I felt bad for him, but after a year or so I grew to hate him too. Drew didnt even realize how much it bothered him until he got his new puppy, our yellow lab Ben. Everyone loves him, and he loves everyone. It puts a huge smile on Drews face every time we have friends over and Ben loves on them and is just thrilled to see someone new.
How long they stay at a shelter really just depends on the shelter itself. Some are "no kill", where they will keep adoptable animals indefinitely, but euthanize animals that are too aggressive etc, to be safely adopted out.
It is wonderful to adopt a pet from a shelter and give them a second chance. More often than not they are there through no fault of their own and can make a wonderful pet in a new home. That said, dont get her if you arent comfortable with the baggage she will bring just because you feel sorry for her.
Let us know how it goes on Saturday! She may be a mild case who would do much better with you. I would definitely ask them for a reference for a good trainer if you do decide to adopt her, even just one consultation could give you a lot of tools to help her. She really is a gorgeous little dog. Im a sucker from choc and tans as they always remind me of Reese


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Old 11-10-2010, 02:04 AM
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Unfortunately fear biters are the worst kind as you never know what's going to trigger them to bite and they tend to bite the hardest. Was she a fear biter before being turned over to the shelter? Some dogs even the sweetest of dogs can turn into grumps when in a scary location like that.

Here is some info I found:
What is Dog Fear Aggression? And How to Deal with it

Fear Biting
This is a separate problem, caused by a fearful and submissive dog that feels cornered. It indicates an extremely poor temperament and possible abuse. Such dogs should never be bred.

To deal with a fear-biter (evidenced by a dog that bites/threatens to bite but has its ears laid back along its head rather than facing forward), first you have to deal with the insecurity and temperament of the dog. This kind of dog has no self-confidence at all, hence its ready alarm at normally innocuous situations.
You need to build up its confidence: pay close attention to understand exactly what sets it off (some are afraid of men, men with beards, people holding something in their hand, small children, etc) and for now, remove that from its environment. Do some training or other work with it to build up its confidence (the training in this case becomes a vehicle for praising the dog). Then work slowly on its fear.

You should really enlist professional help to deal with a fear biter unless you are experienced with dogs. This kind of dog takes lots of patience and careful reading and may never become trustworthy. If you cannot resolve its problems, consider having it destroyed; don't pass it along to someone else to become a problem for that person.
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  #8  
Old 11-10-2010, 02:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reese and Miley View Post
We dont know much about his history, presumably he was mistreated, but he may have just become a bit "unhinged" from his time in the shelter, some animals are able to tolerate that environment better than others. He was very sad. At first I felt bad for him, but after a year or so I grew to hate him too. Drew didnt even realize how much it bothered him until he got his new puppy, our yellow lab Ben. Everyone loves him, and he loves everyone. It puts a huge smile on Drews face every time we have friends over and Ben loves on them and is just thrilled to see someone new.
How long they stay at a shelter really just depends on the shelter itself. Some are "no kill", where they will keep adoptable animals indefinitely, but euthanize animals that are too aggressive etc, to be safely adopted out.
It is wonderful to adopt a pet from a shelter and give them a second chance. More often than not they are there through no fault of their own and can make a wonderful pet in a new home. That said, dont get her if you arent comfortable with the baggage she will bring just because you feel sorry for her.
Let us know how it goes on Saturday! She may be a mild case who would do much better with you. I would definitely ask them for a reference for a good trainer if you do decide to adopt her, even just one consultation could give you a lot of tools to help her. She really is a gorgeous little dog. Im a sucker from choc and tans as they always remind me of Reese


edit-typo
I think she a a little beauty too! I love that coloring! I am mixed emotions about her hey! I am still determined to see her on saturday and try to guage how severe the issue is. I will definately keep you posted, and take pics !

Quote:
Originally Posted by cprcheetah View Post
Unfortunately fear biters are the worst kind as you never know what's going to trigger them to bite and they tend to bite the hardest. Was she a fear biter before being turned over to the shelter? Some dogs even the sweetest of dogs can turn into grumps when in a scary location like that.

Here is some info I found:
What is Dog Fear Aggression? And How to Deal with it

Fear Biting
This is a separate problem, caused by a fearful and submissive dog that feels cornered. It indicates an extremely poor temperament and possible abuse. Such dogs should never be bred.

To deal with a fear-biter (evidenced by a dog that bites/threatens to bite but has its ears laid back along its head rather than facing forward), first you have to deal with the insecurity and temperament of the dog. This kind of dog has no self-confidence at all, hence its ready alarm at normally innocuous situations.
You need to build up its confidence: pay close attention to understand exactly what sets it off (some are afraid of men, men with beards, people holding something in their hand, small children, etc) and for now, remove that from its environment. Do some training or other work with it to build up its confidence (the training in this case becomes a vehicle for praising the dog). Then work slowly on its fear.

You should really enlist professional help to deal with a fear biter unless you are experienced with dogs. This kind of dog takes lots of patience and careful reading and may never become trustworthy. If you cannot resolve its problems, consider having it destroyed; don't pass it along to someone else to become a problem for that person.
Thanks Heather, I like your honesty in the last part. I honestly think, if she is on death row I will take her in to give her a chance, but if her problem is giving her a poor quality in life then I would consider having her PTS.

Hopefully she isnt so bad, I would even be happy for her to go to another loving family. Just the thought that any of those dogs having to be there is so sad.

Thanks for the link too! lots of good info!
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