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December 19, 2005

My Darn (Biting) Dog...

This is so totally not related to biz...

We have a shepard cross named Katy, she'll be 2 years old in February '06. A big pup at 90 pounds.

Anyhow, she gets possessive from time to time... especially when she has something that shes not supposed to have. Such as tonight, she grabbed a pair of my husbands socks which shes *knows* shes not supposed to have.

So my husband went to grab the socks from her, she snapped at him and gave him a nasty bite on the hand. Nasty in the 'we had to go to the hospital and get stitches' kinda way. Ouch!

She has snapped at us before, but never made contact like this.

I'm at a loss here...

We are having a baby late March, and i'm getting pretty concerned about how Katy will be with the new baby. What if she gets snappy around the baby? I so totally cannot have that happen.

If it was just Dan & I in the house I wouldn't be too concerned as I know we can handle her... but with a baby coming, yipes!

We're going to talk to a dog behaviour trainer to see how we can fix this. Fingers crossed that it is fixable, cause I would so hate to have to give Katy up to a new family. But I will if this keeps up.

If you have any suggestions I would *LOVE* to hear them.

Sigh... the joys of doggy parenting. :)

Posted by Tina at December 19, 2005 03:55 PM

Comments

I was in PetCo last night with my dog Milo, and happened to read a section on "playful nipping" (which is obviously less severe than what Katy did). What the book said is it's a sign she is the dominant dog in your household. You and your husband MUST become the dominant dogs, and fast, for her to behave. Which is probably going to apply to raising a kid too (-;

What you can do to establish dominance is:
1. Make sure she will sit and lay down on command. The down command is especially good since it demans submissiveness. Use it often, especially if you are watching t.v. or reading. She can lay down at your feet. Just remember not to expect her to stay there for too long at first.

2. Do not ever play tug with her. If she has something she isn't supposed to have, snap her leash on and give her the command to "drop it", using a jerk on the leash as backup.

3. Keep her out of your bedroom. That is your "den" and she is not allowed in.

4. Don't move out of her way when walking around your house. If she's in your way, tell her to move aside and keep walking. If you walk into her, too bad. It's her job to move, not yours!

I would also take her for professional training. That will help you learn how to be the alpha dog.
Have fun--arf!

Posted by: Kendall at December 20, 2005 06:22 PM

Thanks so much Kendall - this is quite helpful. Especially the part about playing tug, which we do... I just threw out all the tug toys.

We do have an appointment with a behaviorist next week to get some proper dog... er, human training on this.

Posted by: Tina at December 21, 2005 12:45 PM