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Fallout From The Dog Attack- Aggression Behaviour Issues


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Hello again!

Thanks to everyone that previously responded to my other topic regarding Boo and his attack by a rottweiler last week. We are now pursuing legal action for the vet bills he has incurred and is about to incur even more of (wound seems infected).

 

I am seeking advice or stories from anyone who has dealt with dog aggression.

 

This story has two different issues, dog on dog aggression and dog on people aggression. Since the attack, he has developed an entire set of issues that were not present (to this extent) before...

 

When we originally took Boo to have his wounds examined, he (muzzled, of course) became quite aggressive with the vet touching his wounds, so we were told he would need to be sedated. Very expensive. They offered us the option to take him home and try and clean them ourselves where he might be more calm. That didn't happen at all. We tried cleaning the wounds 3 times, and each time got worse. The last time, he was not just snapping, but making serious bite attempts at my husband (I was holding his leash and trying to restrain his head, though somewhat unsuccessfully, and he was muzzled). It was very scary, and we had to stop. He continued to bare his teeth and growl at my husband for a time even when we both backed off. He then retreated and seemed aggressive enough that we were scared to unmuzzle him until he calmed down.

His wound seemed to be healing and we decided it was okay not to clean it anymore. Two days passed, and he opened it back up and another wound that had already healed... I think by scratching. Tonight we looked at him while he was lying on our bed. About two feet away... we didn't touch the wound, didn't get near it, but he began baring is teeth at us and growling. We told him, 'NO!' sharply, as we do anytime this had happened but he continued the aggression until we walked away. We were not even touching him.

 

In addition towards us, we are very scared of his aggression towards other dogs. Before the attack, he had once growled and snapped at a puppy that wouldn't leave him alone. We understood this as normal dog behaviour, though we know he has the inclination to get snappy when backed into a corner.

He is now TERRIFIED of other dogs he meets on walks. He has only seen two since the attack, both calm, smaller dogs that retreated when he ran away and hid behind me/husband. Tail so far between legs it touched his ribs, and very tense. Both dogs left him alone when I explained the situation to the owners, however, there are many friendly dogs that run off leash in my neighbourhood that have bad manners. They mean well but will chase and pester even when another dog is giving signals to back off. Before the attack, his fear was manageable. Now it is so extreme, I think he will snap or bite. I am carrying a stick on walks for protection, but am scared based on how Boo has responded post-attack. We are wondering whether to muzzle him and carry a stick. I know he cannot defend himself if attacked when muzzled, but based on his body language I think he might snap or bite at a friendly dog out of pure fear, as he is scared of even friendly dogs. Since every dog we meet is essentially an 'experiment' in how he will react, I don't want any other dog sustaining injury. Is it wrong to muzzle in this circumstance?

 

Has anyone had a dog aggressive dog and know what to do during walks? Avoiding dogs, including unleashed ones, in our neighbourhood is unavoidable. Would love to hear any insights.

siggie_zpse3afb243.jpg

 

Bri and Mike with Boo Radley (Williejohnwalker), Bubba (Carlos Danger), and the feline friends foes, Loois and Amir

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Sorry you're having to deal with all this with Boo. It will take some time and effort to help him get over his traumatic experience. But the first thing I'd recommend, if at all possible, is to simply give him some down time to recover, both physically and mentally. His recent aggressive responses are probably at least partly related to residual stress from the attack. Here's a good article with more information about the effects of stress on both health and behavior.

 

His wounds are painful, and if he's not in a state of mind to tolerate having them cleaned, I would leave him alone. If the wounds are cleaned well under sedation by the vet, and he's on an appropriate antibiotic, you should be able to get by without cleaning at home. If any of the wounds are looking worse or getting infected, he may need stronger antibiotics, or he may need to be sedated to explore and clean the wounds, and place drains if needed. Sedating him for this type of treatment is better for his mental well-being than to continue to trigger aggression by trying to address the wounds while he's awake.

 

I also wouldn't reprimand him with a "no", or any other correction, for growling or showing teeth. He's stressed and in pain and trying to communicate with you. Yelling at him will only make him feel more threatened. Plus it may make him more likely to just bite without a warning the next time he's uncomfortable with something you're doing.

 

Do you have a yard? Are walks around the neighborhood absolutely necessary? If possible, I would just try to avoid all other dogs for now, until he's had a chance to heal and his stress levels from the trauma and subsequent treatment have had a chance to return to normal. This may take several weeks. During this time, just let him potty in your yard. If there are certain times of day when it's less likely to come across other dogs, walk him then. If you see other dogs approaching, cross to the other side of the road, or turn around and walk in the opposite direction. If there are a lot of loose dogs, and you can't avoid dogs in your neighborhood, it may be best to drive him to a quiet park or other secluded location to walk him once or twice a week.

 

You'll probably need to work on some training and desensitization after he's recovered, but now is not the time to do it. Continuing to expose him to other dogs now, while his stress levels are high and he's still overwhelmed, is only going to make things worse. After he's settled down and is calmer, you can start working on desensitization to other dogs from a distance. And remember that he'll be responding to your emotional state, so if you're anxious around other dogs too now, he'll reflect that. Do your best to be calm and confident when you're walking him.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

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Guest IrskasMom

I am so sorry this happen to Boo and you . Please take JJNg advise , it all makes good sense . Hopefully in time it all settles down . Keep us posted on his Progress.

 

Just to add , My Morty was attacked once by a Boxer and an Australian Shepard (different Times ). Nothing happen to him , as my Son jumped right in and got everything settled. But because Greys in General are very passive and submissive , other Dogs sense that and feel provoked.

Edited by IrskasMom
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Poor Boo. First like the other poster said plese do not "correct" or show him displeasure with his current responses. It is true-they are not stupid and if they get corrected for growling and giving signals iof their distress many will just quit giving signals and go right to biting. I don't think he should be around ANY dogs for at least a couple of weeks. Surely you don't expect him to be OK with otehr dogs coming up to him after what just happennned. Have you ever been in a violent car wreck? It took a while to "get over" it didn't it? It is imperative that you PROTECT him from any situations with other dogs right now that make him uncomfortable. After he has calmed down-at least a couple of weeks- take some very high value treats that he goes bonkers over and everytime you see another dog near him at at all give him one. In the meantime work on engagement with him. Of course he won't take nay treats I'm sure right now he is so upset but he shouldn't be around other dogs now anyway. Begin getting him to focus on you by rewarding him when he looks at you and is engaged with you. Take baby steps. When he can do it at home then branch out a little. Ultimately you want to reach the point where he finds YOU more interesting then his surrondings or other dog/people in his surroundings. You are wanting tio teach him that he doesn't need to be scared or cioncerned of otehr dogs/people because when they appear it just means high value treats appear too and he knows you will protect him. It is extremely important that he believe you will protect him because thats what pack leaders do and he needs to realize you are his pack leader and will protect him. He seen you do that in the fight and that was important. This can take a very long time-always err on the side of going too slow.

The business about being "aggressive" over the wound treatment I personally would not worry about. a lot of dogs are just that way and have never had any bad incidents occur to them. I weigh the situation to decide how to respond. If I KNOW I can win I may just go ahead and overpower them and do what I need to do if it really needs to be done. I talk to them and am as gentle as I can be and explain to them why I have to do it but as their leader I will do what is best for them and what they need even if it means they want to fight me over it. (Of course I always muzzle and then having grown up on a farm I'm pretty good at safe restraint techniques so I know I can win. The worse thing you could do would be to begin to try and do something and then let them "win" by aggressive behavior. Guess what that teaches them?) So also like the other poster said in your case it is probably advisable to just leave the wounds alone unless they HAVE to be cleaned and then take him to vet for sedation.

I am so sorry this happenned to you and poor Boo. Sometimes the physical wounds as bad a they are are minor compared to the psychological ones. I am glad you are pursuing legal action for the vet bills so he can continue to receive the best treatments. He so deserves that. I really believe you are basically doing the right things and most of all keep giving him love. Don't reinforce his fears by talking sweet etc. when it is time to take him out where he may encounter otehr dogs. By the time you take him out again he should be really engaged with you-looking at you and causing you to dispense good things by looking at you and being engaged with you etc. IMO thats what you should be concentrating on now. Get him engaged with you. When you finally take him out around other dogs YOU want to be much more interesting to him since you are the benevolent pack leader treat dispenser! Teach him a word like watch or look for looking at you and always reward him for doing it. Then work on getting him to do it for longer and longer periods of time by treating appropriately. Then when he is out and sees another dog you can tell him to watch or look and he will immediately be distacted off the enviroment and will be happily looking at you for his treat instead. This is just the approach that I would take and that has worked for me. You asked what our experience was and after over 50 years around dogs this is wher I'm at now. It might be wrong. It might be right. But it has worked for me and my dogs are very happy. Sure hope Boo feels better soon. Give him a little hug and kiss for me and tell him he'll be OK and not to worry it just akes time. I also would be giving him Rescue Remedy at least to deal with his fears and Bach minimus as well to give him a little courage. Also I would not muzzle him during walks. He needs to be able to defend himself and to know that he can. If a loose dog gets bit then so be it. If the loose dogs owner really cared about their dog it wouldn't be running loose in the first place. You care about Boo- you had him on a leash to keep him safe and he was still hurt by a loose rogue. But like I said before I don't think he should even be in that spot for quite a while till he calms down and starts to recover.

Edited by racindog
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agreed, so sorry for the two of you, this stinks!

 

as to his biting his healing wounds the "bite-not collar" can be a life saver. look it up, basically he can't turn his head to get to the wounds.

take your time, let his physical wounds heal and keep him on a low keyed schedule in the yard and away from other dogs right now- as suggested above.

 

what did work, since i went thru a nasty attack experience w/ one of my dogs years ago, is desensitization to other dogs in a controlled situation. i happen to be lucky enough to know a trainer/owner of a small obedience school. my welsh terrier went back to school at 9 years of age after one too many attack incidents- i swear he wore a sign that said"attack me" dogs used to come out of the bushes and go for him!. i called it "reform school". he was attacked and became unmanagable, thru patience, an instructor who was really experienced w/ lots of rescue dogs and wackos(owners and dogs) we were able to bring willie back to normal. but it was time, a controlled setting, practice and i showed no fear that something was going to happen again. my security, positive spin on his focusing on me, joyful commitment to training helped.

 

dogs can go thru tramatic experiences at the vet and become downright nasty. that can be worked out as well, your muzzle will be you and your vet's best friend. after emergency staples for a big tear over the ribcage felix became down right nasty at the vet. my vet started working on him outside, in the parking lot. that helped, we also found that having other people in the examining room and carrying on a conversation while he was worked on also helped. we basically ignored his negaitive behavior. it took a while, but he is fine today.

 

time, a firm/positive attitude and hand will get you and your pup to the place you need to be.

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Guest jenniferk

I read your earlier post and feel for you all. It sounds like it's been traumatic for everyone--first the attack and now this.

 

Something similar (but not as severe) happened to me recently. Our newly adopted boy Django broke his toe and has to wear a splint, which we need to handle daily (to put a bag on and off of it to prevent it from being wet). Prior to that, he bit my husband twice (once sleep aggression, the other when my husband tried to pet him while he was lying down but awake) and growled many times. Django really didn't like us handling his splint at first because he was in pain, and we were very wary of him because of the biting incidents. So we consulted both our rescue group and our dog trainer, who both came to our home for consults. The advice our trainer gave us is consistent with what others have said about NOT reprimanding him when he acts aggressively. She said Django is scared and not feeling safe, and repimanding him may make him even more fearful and could worsen his behavior and cause him to bite us. (She also recommended the book Dog Sense by John Bradshaw, which gives scientific evidence that supports this approach.) For our situation, we're working on a desensitization protocol from Univerity of Penn Vet for getting him used to being touched while he's lying down--but in a way that's safe (we're doing it in tiny steps with his muzzle on). The rescue group suggested more safe handling and massaging exercises to get Django used to us touching him everywhere, even on his broken toe. That has been working extremely well, and he is now much more receptive to both us and the vet staff handling his foot, and it's also improved our relationship with Django.

 

I am writing this not to suggest that you do the same things--I'm a newbie and not an expert like the others on here and Django was never as aggressive or in as much pain as it sounds Boo is like, and plus, our rescue gruop and trainer assessed him first and gave us this advice, so it's specific to us. But I did want to post to say that I can emphathize with having your beloved boy show such scary behavior, and that there are definitely things you can do to address aggression if he still shows it after he's recovered from this very traumatic experience (maybe your rescue group could come to your home to give suggestions like mine did?). It sounds like right now, the poor guy is really terrified. Hope he can recover quickly.

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I just want to add that I am so sorry for you BRIANAMAC and JENNIFERK. I am hoping you both can help your boys to feel more comfortable with you, and in your homes, and I do hope you don't give up on them. They may have some issues now, but if you can stick it out with them, they are such a joy when they get over it and worth the wait!!!

 

AS JENNIFERK recommended, BRIANAMAC, please call your adoption group and get them to come over and help you in your home. They will want to make sure Boo is going to be happy and healthy in his forever home with you.

 

My thoughts are with you and will keep looking for positive updates.

 

Claudia

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Guest team_tonio

Looks like you've gotten some great advice -definitely he is afraid and responding in kind. Hard to see your boy like that I'm sure. I think giving Boo some time and avoiding any possible anxiety triggers is wise. When you do decide that you are all ready to take the next step, just remember to take it slow. One small step for Boo is a giant leap in the right direction! Wishing you all the best!

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I think this board has been such a saving grace for us throughout this experience. Thanks to everyone, JJgrey, racindog, and cleptogrey for taking the time to consider the situation and give advice.

Good to know how to handle the aggression/behaviour. I've read so much conflicting advice on the subject but this sounds like it makes sense.

I was feeling guilty for not walking him as much, but now I agree this may be best for him. We do have a small yard for him to do his business and get fresh air. He is so petrified of everything (dogs, noises, people) on walks now that he doesn't seem to be enjoying them at all-- and nor am I as I am always on high alert lookout. I will try just having more backyard time with him instead and slowly reintroduce walks once he has healed up a bit.

We have been in contact with our adoption group and they have been great in offering us different advice and techniques for cleaning his wounds, dealing with the aggression, and his dog fear. After reading responses here, we decided to take him back to the vet to have his wounds checked (specifically the one that re-opened). Good thing we did, as he had developed two large abscesses that needed to be cut into and drained. Of course, he had to be sedated and is now on additional painkillers. The vet said not to worry about cleaning it, but he has to go back for a check on Monday. If it is healing healthily, hopefully life will just go back to normal. If not, she will do surgery to go into the wounds and remove all the dead tissue. Please cross your fingers!

Thanks again guys.

siggie_zpse3afb243.jpg

 

Bri and Mike with Boo Radley (Williejohnwalker), Bubba (Carlos Danger), and the feline friends foes, Loois and Amir

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I read your earlier post and feel for you all. It sounds like it's been traumatic for everyone--first the attack and now this.

 

Something similar (but not as severe) happened to me recently. Our newly adopted boy Django broke his toe and has to wear a splint, which we need to handle daily (to put a bag on and off of it to prevent it from being wet). Prior to that, he bit my husband twice (once sleep aggression, the other when my husband tried to pet him while he was lying down but awake) and growled many times. Django really didn't like us handling his splint at first because he was in pain, and we were very wary of him because of the biting incidents. So we consulted both our rescue group and our dog trainer, who both came to our home for consults. The advice our trainer gave us is consistent with what others have said about NOT reprimanding him when he acts aggressively. She said Django is scared and not feeling safe, and repimanding him may make him even more fearful and could worsen his behavior and cause him to bite us. (She also recommended the book Dog Sense by John Bradshaw, which gives scientific evidence that supports this approach.) For our situation, we're working on a desensitization protocol from Univerity of Penn Vet for getting him used to being touched while he's lying down--but in a way that's safe (we're doing it in tiny steps with his muzzle on). The rescue group suggested more safe handling and massaging exercises to get Django used to us touching him everywhere, even on his broken toe. That has been working extremely well, and he is now much more receptive to both us and the vet staff handling his foot, and it's also improved our relationship with Django.

 

I am writing this not to suggest that you do the same things--I'm a newbie and not an expert like the others on here and Django was never as aggressive or in as much pain as it sounds Boo is like, and plus, our rescue gruop and trainer assessed him first and gave us this advice, so it's specific to us. But I did want to post to say that I can emphathize with having your beloved boy show such scary behavior, and that there are definitely things you can do to address aggression if he still shows it after he's recovered from this very traumatic experience (maybe your rescue group could come to your home to give suggestions like mine did?). It sounds like right now, the poor guy is really terrified. Hope he can recover quickly.

 

Jenniferk, I can't PM you but would love it if you would send me an email when you have time canyoufeelthat@hotmail.com

siggie_zpse3afb243.jpg

 

Bri and Mike with Boo Radley (Williejohnwalker), Bubba (Carlos Danger), and the feline friends foes, Loois and Amir

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Poor baby. :( I hope he heals quickly.

 

You got some really good advice and I agree with all of it. He needs time to get over the physical pain and the trauma. You might want to see if there is a good behaviourist in your area. In a few weeks, when he is a little more ready, it might be worth working with a professional for a while to help you both deal with these new issues.

 

Good luck!

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