Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest Jdct

Sweetest Dog Tried To Bite

Recommended Posts

Guest Jdct

We got Baxter in September and he's been the sweetest dog. I swear most of the time that he wouldn't hurt a fly.

 

A while ago, I was relaxing on the couch and invited him on the couch with me. After a couple minutes I stretched my legs out. I thought I heard a growl but I wasn't sure. I stretched out my legs again and he started full on snarling at me. I told him no and made him get off the couch. I was really confuse because I had only nudged his belly(which he enjoys to have scratched) and wasn't even close to his private area. I let it go and didn't think much of it until it happened again.

 

Last friday Baxter stepped on a beer bottle. The cut went right to the bone, cut three arteries and almost took his pad off. He was in surgery for and your and a half and got 10 stitches. The vet taught us to rebandage his foot. And that was what I was doing when he snapped the second time.

 

I positioned myself on his bed and made sure I wasn't sitting on a leg or his tail. I was pretty high up on his leg when he yelped, tried to bite me twice and then stood up and growled. His one attempt scratched my arm. I was no where near his foot. I told him no, let him cool off for a minute, then rebandaged his foot without a hitch.

 

If someone could maybe give me a couple pointers as to why this it happening that would be great. By the way I frequently sit on his bed with him and he doesn't seem to mind. Thanks in advance! I'd really like to resolve this before it turns into a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He sounds a lot like our dog. I have only seen him do these kinds of things when we're trying to move him off of the couch or bed or at the vet's when they were taking a bandage off. In the first instance, we have tried to teach off and don't put our hands under him to move him, which seems to be his trigger. For the time when you were changing his bandage, I'm guessing it just hurt. Jake snarled and snapped at the vet once and the vet said he had just reached his limit for what he would endure. I don't think that would be a huge issue for me, because he doesn't know what's going on and why it is hurting.


jakesigsmall_zps254e191c.jpg

Photographer in Phoenix, AZ www.northmountainphoto.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jdct

That's the thing though. He wasn't in pain either time. He's comfortable with being touched anywhere Exept his tail. I wasn't near his foot when he snapped. Or near his tail the first time.

 

Plus he only snapped at me and not my mom. Also when he gets bored he likes to pick up my stuff like socks or string and chew on them. Only my stuff. Am I doing something to cause this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firstly, Baxter did not try to bite you. :) If all you got was a scratch, he intended to warn, not bite. He probably didn't even intend to make contact, but our reflexes are very slow compared to dogs.

Secondly, from what you say, it sounds as though you haven't managed yet to develop a solid bond of trust and Baxter simply does not trust you not to hurt him. You say you 'only nudged his belly twice'. Well, a dog's belly is a very vulnerable part (dogs who are seriously fighting may try to disembowel each other), so he's going to protect it. He warned you that he was uncomfortable with what you were doing. You may not have been near what you thought of as a vulnerable area, but when dogs are not yet trusting, they have different perceptions to us. A fearful or nervous dog will not want you to stare into his eyes, go face to face with him, approach him suddenly (especially from above), grab bits of him without warning, or nudge him in the belly. He won't want to be hugged, and he most certainly won't want you on his bed, particularly when you're doing something painful or scary.

What you need to do is take notice of his warnings, and back off a bit and work on the trust issue. He needs to know that he is safe with you, and the best way to teach him this is with gentleness, and not pushing his boundaries, and positive training with rewards. Teach yourself to understand dog body language and social signals. Bones Would Rain From The Sky by Suzanne Clothier, and The Other End Of The Leash by Patricia McConnell are a couple of good books you could try.

Your problem is that you now have to bandage his injured foot (or take him to the vet each time), so you are going to have to go carefully. It sounds as if he's uncomfortable enough to bite if he feels you aren't taking notice of how he feels and what he's telling you, but he almost certainly doesn't WANT to bite you. So when you bandage him, pop a muzzle on, and get someone to help you hold him, but don't use this as an excuse to manhandle him. Take it slowly, talking gently to him all the time, and praise him for being good. Be very careful not to hurt him, but if you do, and he yelps or growls or snarls or snaps, immediately stop and let go and talk to him gently and say sorry. He won't understand the words but he'll understand the emotion. Give him a few seconds to settle and then quietly continue. Reassurance at this stage is what he needs, not being punished or yelled at. :)


GTAvatar-2015_zpsb0oqcimj.jpg

The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Amber

Good advice from Silverfish. I just wanted to add that since he did make contact with your arm, it might be a good idea to call in a well qualified behaviourist now, to make sure that your relationship with him goes on the right track and to minimise any chance of you or someone else making a 'mistake' that could lead to a worse bite at some point.

 

Not to scare you but i had a terrible experience with a dog i adopted who at first only air snapped if a person he didn't trust did something he didn't like, well he went on to deliver a very serious multiple bite that put someone in hospital for 10 days. So I would take any dog who has a low bite threshold very seriously and get a professional in at an early stage.

 

It's probably just nerves and being new but at the same time, he is willing to use his teeth and has technically bitten you , so, be careful!

 

edited to add- please don't let any children have unsupervised access to your dog, I'm assuming that you don't have any of your own at home.

Edited by Amber

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jdct

Well I'm pretty sure he trusts me cause I bandaged his foot alone the last three times and he only tried to bite just this once. I'm thinking I must have been on his foot because even when the vet changed it he was perfect.

Anyway, any tips on how to build trust?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just because he has allowed you to do something several times without reacting in an obvious way does not mean that he trusts you. You need to take this seriously, or he probably will end up biting you.

Nice, ordinary dogs - particularly greyhounds - will put up with an awful lot before they reach breaking point. If you go and read this article, it may help you to understand what I mean. I know it's not a comfortable thought that he has been untrusting all this time, but it really is the most likely explanation for his behaviour. As to advice on how to proceed and build trust, the very first thing you need to do is bone up on how to read what he's telling you.

Greyhounds can be very subtle in their body language compared to many other dogs. The signals they give are small. Compared to, say, a German Shepherd, it's as if they were whispering instead of shouting. If you don't want to buy a book, you may be able to borrow one from a public library, or even find the resources you need online, but please, for the sake of your dog, do read up on this.

For example, some of the first signals he gives may include simply turning his head away, moving his eyes (rolling from side to side, or showing the white), yawning, flicking his tongue, licking his nose or sniffing the ground. The next step might include looking anxiously at you, lifting a paw, showing you a bit of his belly ('please don't hurt me, I'm submissive, look!'), panting (anxiety). If you keep going with what you're doing, he might then show you stiffened body posture, tight mouth, and/or an audible warning (soft grumble, growl) and he might try to move away from you. If you don't heed any of these warnings, the warning snap is next (this is what he did when he connected with you and scratched you. Warning snaps aren't meant to connect, but with people they often do because we are slow to react and because we don't have fur). If you continue after this, you may well get bitten in good earnest. At this point, the dog has done all he can possibly do - using the only language available to him - to let you know he cannot tolerate what you are doing. He can't speak English so what is he to do? And all this can happen in less than half a minute.

That's why you need to build trust. But trust is not built overnight, you need to work at it daily, every day, and with some dogs, for life. I can tell you what I do with mine, but it does need to be adapted to each individual, and you need to constantly watch the body language to make sure you're getting it right. If you are not knowledgeable on body language, it will be much more difficult, and with a dog who has already reached this point, I have to agree with Amber that it might be better to get a professional behaviourist in to assess him and show you the way forward. It's important that it's a professional behaviourist though. NOT a dog trainer. The wrong person at this point could ruin him and get you properly bitten - and by that I mean someone heavy-handed. What you definitely don't want is someone coming in and trying to use old fashioned dominance theory with him.

Good luck - he sounds like a lovely dog who is just very confused and anxious at the moment. And don't forget, he's still a very new member of your family!


Oh, and by the way, many of our dogs make liars of us at the vet. It's due to a number of things: being on unfamiliar territory, and being handled by someone who knows what he or she is doing and has developed the right approach through years of experience, to start with. But trust me on this, vets and nurses and techs DO get bitten. I myself have a scar on my face from my early vet nursing days, which was one thing that taught me that learning dog body language was a smart thing to do. ;)


GTAvatar-2015_zpsb0oqcimj.jpg

The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree there has been good advice provided. Also something to keep in mind that a muzzle is a good idea when tending wounds, etc.


Kyle with Stewie ('Super C Ledoux, Super C Sampson x Sing It Blondie) and forever missing my three angels, Jack ('Roy Jack', Greys Flambeau x Miss Cobblepot) and Charlie ('CTR Midas Touch', Leo's Midas x Hallo Argentina) and Shelby ('Shari's Hooty', Flying Viper x Shari Carusi) running free across the bridge.

Gus an coinnich sinn a'rithist my boys and little girl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Things you can do to build trust:

1) Hand feed all meals

2) obedience training

3) walks

 

This is not a complete list, but these are some of the better ways of building trust. Another thing, I would probably try bandaging his paw someplace other than his bed. Make him get up and walk over to where you want to bandage him, then take care of his paw. It may be as simple as he is uncomfortable with you over him in his bed.

 

Chad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have noticed that greyhounds, more than most dogs it seems, will enter a high stress situation and go into a "power down" mode because they just cannot handle the stress. While other dogs may whine, try to get away, try to hide, a greyhound may just shut down and become a lot "easier" because they have gone into their mind and are trying to distance themselves from the stress. Some won't, but my Monty when he is put into more stressful situations (like a grooming, or when there are excessive fireworks or they start when he's outside on a walk with us) will turn into something like a dog-shaped doll. This might be part of the reason that at the vet he was "easy" or even why he was easy for you a few times when dealing with this foot and then sometimes was not - he'd been pushed beyond the point where he could ignore.

 

And I don't think you can absolutely say that he was feeling no pain - greyhounds can be exceptionally stoic when they are actually injured, and may be complete drama queens when merely uncomfortable or surprised. And pain is very subjective, and it's even hard for people to know what kind of pain other people are feeling and what different levels of pain would mean for you when they describe it. "Agony" as described by one person may be mere "annoyance" as described by another. Dogs are even more foreign!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Amber

I'm not sure the snap wasn't meant to connect. It would depend how much control the dog has of his jaws. I personally think that mostly air snaps that are just warnings do not connect, because the jaws are quite far away from the target.

 

But at the end of the day, the bite did connect and cause a minor injury. With this level of bite, it's definitely workable but please don't be lulled into a sense of security that any future bites will necessarily be on the same level.

 

I also think that a dog who resorts to biting at a relatively low level of provocation has what is called a low bite threshold. This may not be his normal threshold, it could be lowered because of stress at being in a new home. But , different dogs have different thresholds. Many would try to get away first, or growl but then not take things further. From what you've said, he is escalating from a snarl at one incident to a contact nip at the next.

 

escalation can be frighteningly rapid, so that's why a good behaviourist is important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cut went right to the bone, cut three arteries and almost took his pad off. He was in surgery for and your and a half and got 10 stitches. The vet taught us to rebandage his foot. And that was what I was doing when he snapped the second time.

And you think your dog isn't/wasn't in pain? :blink:

 

This all sounds pretty normal to me. The couch incident sounds like typical space/sleep aggression, common in greyhounds who are used to sleeping undisturbed in their crates. There is plenty of advice in this forum already if you search. You can counter-condition so he doesn't react like that, or you can just choose to keep him off of the furniture. Or you can let him on the furniture, but not disturb him when he's laying there.

 

The second incident sounds like a dog that was in pain or afraid you were going to hurt him because of a seemingly very painful injury. Again, pretty normal in the dog world. As far as him trusting you because he didn't snap the first 3 times you bandaged his foot, on the contrary he probably tolerated those first 3 bandage changes despite it being uncomfortable and this time around he'd had enough. I'd suggest that when you change the bandage you have one person by his pointy end feeding him REALLY yummy treats - licking a spoon of PB or eating bits of cheese, lunchmeat, steak, etc. Whatever strikes his fancy. That will keep him occupied while you carefully change his bandage. If he stops eating, that's a darn good sign a snap or bite is imminent. Worst case, you have the vet do the bandage changes and you muzzle him when you take him in to be safe. I would also ask the vet about pain meds if he isn't already on any. Tramadol would be a typical thing to give for something like this, or possibly an anti-inflammatory depending.

Edited by NeylasMom

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent advice already given... Please read it carefully !

 

A week ago he cut his foot to the bone... Of course he's still in pain!

Poor fellow.

Use a muzzle when doing bandage changes.


NSK-Winter.jpg.a6ea578c2e544932c5222b81cda3216d.jpg

Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Lygracilux

"He sounds a lot like our dog. I have only seen him do these kinds of things when we're trying to move him off of the couch or bed"

 

 

Though I cannot comment on the bandage thing, as Fusion hasn't been "painfully" injured before-he's this same way on the couch.

If he is super relaxed or sleeping and I push him to get off (I don't do this anymore for this reason, I tell him) or touch him wrong in the ribs with my knee or something, he growls. Snapped once, when I had to roll him off of me while he was in a deep sleep.

He's just a grump if hes disturbed. When he does that I just sternly tell him to get off the couch, and he gets a time out. He goes and lays on the floor for 5 mins until staring at my with those big love eyes wanting back up "I'm sorry mummy, but you get attitudey with me if I wake you up in the morning too!"

Edited by Lygracilux

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...