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  #1  
Old 11-28-2013, 12:37 AM
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Unhappy Desperate for help with fear aggression

Hi all

Iím new here and in desperate need of some help and advice. I have an 18 month old dog called Ben. I adopted Ben a year ago when he was nearly 7 months old. I got him from a woman who gave him a terrible start in life. She had never walked him or introduced him to other dogs or people and she actively encouraged him to misbehave because she found it funny. This understandably left him with some issues that I have spent the past year trying to sort out.

Iíve hired three separate trainers, and sent him to a residential trainer all to try to fix his behaviour, and I have seen a massive improvement outside of the house. He no longer barks incessantly at other dogs and is much easier and calmer on walks. Iím so proud of him for how far he has come. But he has a very long way to go, and this is because he is extremely aggressive to people in the house. Even people who I once trusted him with are now in danger of being bitten as he is seemingly getting worse than ever. Iím now in the position where if I visit family I have to keep him permanently on a lead in the house because he will turn on anyone except me, even those he once had a bond with.

He is very quick to bite, and at 7lbs he a larger chi and is capable of hurting. I have never seen a dog as overtaken with aggression as Ben. He gets in a zone and absolutely will not stop barking until the Ďthreatí is gone. No matter how many times I walk in and out of a room with him, treat him, get other people to treat him etc he will not give in. Iím at a total loss of what to do now, as I feel like Iíve tried everything.

Iím 23 years old, and have a lot of plans for the future that I cannot do simply because of Ben. I would love to move out of my parentsí house and into a house share but I canít because Ben wouldnít accept new people. I know that Iíll want children one day and I dread how Ben will behave around a baby. I canít even consider a relationship because I would be so embarrassed to introduce a man to Ben as he would undoubtedly get attacked.

Ben is my everything; I love him an incredible amount, unconditionally. Iím with him for good now. But Iím scared that Iíll eventually begin to resent him for making my life so difficult. I need to sort this out now so that we can both be happy. He is not a happy dog when he is in that aggressive zone.

Anyone that has dealt with a similar problem, I would so appreciate any advice you could give me on how you handled it. I know there must be something I can do to help Ben overcome his fears. He cannot be untrainable; he is so loving to me. If it were just me and him in the world he would be the perfect dog.

Please help!
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2013, 12:57 AM
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I also have a fear aggressive dog that was never socialised whilst a puppy. She has been with me for 10 months now, and she has come a long way, but there will always be limits to what she can and can't do and it is probably the same with your boy.
However, attacking people and biting are totally unacceptable.
Can you be more specific about what makes him bite? What precedes it and how do you respond?
You have to work with him when he is not in 'the zone'. When he is as stressed as you describe, physiological changes in his body make it impossible for him to learn. The secret is to work when the dog is below his threshold. So avoid any situations that are going to trigger his aggression for now. Every time he bites someone, that behaviour becomes more ingrained, so you need to concentrate on prevention.
Once you have worked out his triggers you can work on making him less reactive to them. It will be a slow process, but he will improve.
Can I also ask what you are feeding him? Diet can play a huge role in behavioural issues, especially if you are feeding artificial additives.
How much exercise does he get? What is a typical day for him? Is he crate trained?
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Old 11-28-2013, 01:32 AM
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Amberleah is the same way, she had such a bad start being real sick and first year she was at vets that hurt her a lot, now she trust NO one but me and my husband. When anyone comes over she barks so bad and will go after their ankles. But with kids she it is so bad, she will attack them and they scream and makes it worse. I too have tried treats and such, after the adults have been here awhile she combs down but will bite them if they go near her. The big problem is she never gets used to the kids and I had to order a muzzle put on her if I cant watch her at all times. if the kids are watching tv or something I tell them don't get up until I get her.
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:45 PM
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Thanks so much for the responses.

When he bites its usually in a situation where somebody comes through the front door. If it is someone he trusts he'll greet them nicely, if it is someone he isn't sure of he'll bark and growl. He'll start jumping around them in a circle and then if that person continues to move forwards into the house he will start to bite their legs.
I can get him to sit calmly in the same room as someone new, if they are also sat down and not moving. As soon as they get up and start to walk he will then run over to them and bark and bite.

I have him on a rotation diet of the orijen six fish and regional red flavours, along with venison ziwipeak, homemade meat jerky and raw meaty bones twice a week for his teeth. I was told by one trainer that his diet was far too high in protein and that was causing his behavioural issues, but I was very reluctant at the time to change it as I want him to have the best diet possible.

His daily routine consists of a lot of play in the house with my other dog, then a long walk, usually 1 and a half hours long with a lot of off lead running. I never go a single day without giving him a good long walk, it puts his training back so far it's not worth the risk! I work from home so luckily have a lot of time to devote to walking and training him. he is crate trained to be in there when I do go out, but he sleeps on my bed at night - this is something I am willing to change if you think it would benefit.

I think you're right that there will always be situations where Ben will struggle. I think my main goal is to be able to have him off lead in my home when I invite people around and for him to not bite them, I can accept him not wanting to be touched by them. But I would like for him to ignore them, as I tell visitors to ignore him. Nobody tries to touch him or make friends, they know he doesn't like it.
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:48 PM
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Could I ask where you got your muzzle from? I've tried 4 different kinds now and he can get out of all of them. I would love to be able to put a muzzle on him on days like Christmas day where there are so many people in the house. I would hate to have to crate him all day.
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