Q: Help Fast?

January 24, 2013 | By Ches21 | 1 answer | Expired: 652 days ago


Okay so I am doggie sitting Shasta my dad's American Eskimo she is going in to be groomed tommorrow this behavior is a usaul one of hers she listens to my dad when he ignores her or tells her no but I have tried everything even the spray bottle I haven't really tried time out cause when she growls she is always guarding something even if it is just a recliner in the room she has a hip problem so she lays in front of stuff to guard it rather than jumping up on it I can take blankets, shoes, rawhydes and toys away from her she will snap at you if you get near her so you have to be careful before my dad had her she was severly mistreated even by the rescue that she was in just a few miles outta town which has been shut down by the rescue I work for several times before I am not sure she was staying with my dads parents too though and they are not good people and they did not take good care of Shasta she was ignored and is so filled with matts that she has to be groomed right away and have her nails clipped so it could be the pain of that or her hip problem she is at least 12 years old she is an american eskimo but is about 10 pounds overweight my dad is trying to get her to lose the weight now that I have talked to him but while she is with me the rest of the time I don't know for how long it might be 1 month or more so I need training tips just in case it turns out not to be her grooming problem or her health my dad would be so heart broken if she had to be put down in his recovery from brain surgery Shasta is what he is holding on to he is looking forward to seeing her and being with her again I know once she is gone it will not be a good idea for him to have another dog his health is so bad but I know he needs the company and is more likely to open up to an animal than any people even family so I just wanted to know what I can do to get her to not growl at me and snap at me for no reason if it is that she is just guarding something or she is just upset and not in pain I will check out the pain thing first though and if that isn't it I will need to know if anyone has any sulotions?

Readers' Answers (1)

Jan 24, 2013

Shasta's world has been turned upside down. That and considering her abusive past I can understand her behavior. Since her placement with you is only temporary until your dad recovers hopefully, I wouldn't even consider euthanizing her. Your dad needs her and she needs your dad just as much. Abused dogs have lots of baggage. Unless someone really works with them, that baggage can cause lots of behavior problems for them. The first thing you need to determine is if this behavior is guarding, dominance, fear, or a response to pain, so a vet visit is needed to figure out how much her hip dysplasia is affecting her. Watch her body language to help you figure out what causes changes in her body language such as stiffening, bristling, growling, or baring of teeth. There should be a pattern, you just have to observe and find it. Once you rule out pain, you'll know what you have to work on. It is important to try to identify the type of aggression present. Fear aggression is treated differently than dominance aggression. Dominance aggression usually occurs when you try to move a dog away from a favorite spot ar take away a favorite toy. It happens suddenly and often w/o warning. For this type of aggression they usually suggest that the dog be made to work for all positive things, such as feeding, petting, going outside, etc. For example, make the dog sit before giving its food, before going on walks, etc.It's very important that this be a consistent part of training as it makes the dog depend on the owner/caretaker and reinforces the owner's dominant status w/o physical confrontation. If necessary, you can muzzle the dog during training until it becomes reliable about responding to commands. This isn't easy to do in a family situation, because ALL family members have to consistently follow protocol. If they don't it is doubtful that the aggression can be controlled.

My biggest piece of advice is that if you don't have experience working with potentially aggressive dogs, it's best to leave it to the experts and take her to a trainer who specializes in aggression. Her life and others' safety depend on proper handling of the situation so it's not a good idea to try to handle it yourself. You might want to start her on some sort of glucosamine supplement along with a fish oil (Omega 3) supplement to hopefully alleviate some of that pain. Losing weight will also help with the pain so keep working on that as well.

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