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Thread: My dog bit me...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    102

    Default My dog bit me...

    Good morning all

    I come here completely stressed out and hoping for advice

    My nearly 9 month old kelpie x border collie bit me this morning. It's the first time she's ever done anything like this.
    We've struggled a lot with her teething/chewing/nipping on hands etc which we've been told is to be expected with a working breed and we are okay with that
    It's mostly under control now, she is getting better and better with solid training
    But this morning was something entirely different. I realise the circumstances can change when your dog is eating food but she's never shown any sort of aggression before...

    Each morning before I go to work I throw her food out across the deck for her to sniff out and pick up (dry food mornings, raw food at night)
    This morning after filling her water bowl up I walked over to pat her goodbye while she was eating food off the ground, something I've done dozens and dozens of times before
    She turned, growled and BIT my hand all in one quick movement. Actually bit me and left a mark, broke the skin on my palm!

    I couldn't believe it. I automatically grabbed her by the collar (she wee'd from fright or domination) and dragged her up the path to her kennel, placed her on top and scolded her
    She wouldn't dare look me in the eye and was cowering until I let her down to finish her meal - she knew I wasn't impressed

    After reading about it this morning on various websites I've since learned that my reaction was nothing but counter productive in dealing with this issue but it was just that, a reaction. A shocked one!
    I'm usually not physical with my dog. We've tried it before and it simply did nothing but make her worse

    So long story short... what do I do? Have you dealt with this in the past?
    I'm racking my brain trying to work out what I've done wrong, hoping my dog isn't turning into the devil

    I went away for 5 days last week, the longest I've ever been away from her, she stayed with my partner who she has a good relationship with, I didn't see it being a problem
    Since returning she's been... well... a bit of a jerk to be honest... she's barking at any and every dog at the dog park, eliminating inside, basically trying to do whatever she likes and now this...
    Generally being pretty naughty

    A few people have assured me it's just the 'terrible twos' and she's going to get worse before she gets better etc

    ANY advice at all would be appreciated. I see a lot of people with working breeds on here so I thought it's the best place to start

    Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Bunbury
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    Default

    I am sure others will give you advice. I know collies are often sensitive.I have a colliexkelpie whose temperament is very border collie. Similarly I have been away for a few days with a death in the family in another town. My dog is not leaving my side now I am back and usually she wanders inside and outside, so it clearly mattered and she is stressed. She is spooking easily and her confident cockiness is a bit dented.
    So if the dog is bonded to you primarily they may have some residual anxiety from you being away for an extended period. The bite may have been a fear response if she was distracted and suddenly became aware of you.
    I am wondering why you throw the food rather than put it out in a bowl ( unless that is just an expression) . There is information about presenting food for dogs on the forum and many other places as it is an area that can easily cause problems. Personally my Maggie sits and presents a paw before she eats. I am trying to train her at the moment to leave anything on command.
    I would take her on a long walk and tire her, give her a drink and then sit and commune in a quiet spot ( for me it would be the local beach or park) and just sit for a while. The dog maybe just needs to chill out with you.
    Just my thoughts, I can imagine it would have been distressing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
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    Default

    Thank you for the reply farrview
    I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Perhaps Maggie can sense something and wants to comfort you?
    I know a lot of people don't believe that, but it's nice to think about, I think anyway

    When I say throw I mean scatter it down the path in maybe a 2m x 2m area, she doesn't have to look for it, it's just not in one big pile
    She still has to sit, shake, roll over, spin... at least two things before she gets any food at all. At night time she has a bowl with raw food.
    Now that I think about it I have no idea why we started doing it to be honest. She's a very excitable breed and it seemed to keep her occupied and interested

    After this morning I concluded that scattering her food like that is making her anxious about losing it, perhaps putting her in a 'scavenger' type mode where she thinks the birds, other dogs or myself are going to come and take it from her and she has to get it down as fast as she can. I won't be doing it anymore I can assure you!

    This is all on top of the mood or behaviour she's been displaying since my return
    I don't want to be precious about it but it's really upset me!
    Maybe you're right. Maybe this weekend we can have some extra time together, extra walks, adventures and couch cuddles
    I don't feel as 'close' to her as I did this time last week
    I fear that may perpetuate her anxiety of us being apart though?

    Haha it's like I find one answer and then ask five other questions!
    Bless being a pooch parent.

  4. #4

    Default

    feed out of a bowl, same bowl, same time, same place every day. put the food down and walk away and let your dog eat in peace.

    you might try using treats in training and use correct methods so the dog is not snatching from yr hand.

    i have been bit before, not while eating tho. you have to act like it had no impact on you if the dog is doing out of dominance, even if you need stitches. if it is a careless bite in training, stop playing and show no interest straight away, thats how they learn bite inhibition as pups, hurt the other pup the fun stops.

    with working dogs a bite in training = YOU are too slow and need to improve yr handling, not blame the dog.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Canberra
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    I don't think I agree that feeding the same time, same place every day is necessarily the best strategy. I would hand feed more often and make the feeding routine less predictable instead of more. It sounds like you have put lots of effort into training already, so it isn't a general lack of leadership or boundaries issue. Maybe it really was only because she got startled this time and reacted instinctively before she realised it was you.

    It must have been really upsetting for you. And for her to make you feel that guilty about leaving her too! And if it's any consolation, I would've reacted in pretty much exactly the same way as you. And then felt bad about it afterwards. We're only human and fortunately our dogs love us unconditionally.

    Your dog sounds very much like a one-person dog, like my previous dog. It's very endearing and even flattering but it's not the best situation for the dog and quite impractical as it is impossible to always be right there with them. Not sure what to suggest to counter that though.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2013
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    Brisbane, Australia
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    Thank you for the comforting words Beloz
    She certainly is turning into a one person dog, something I REALLY want to avoid
    If I pat another dog at the dog park she'll be there in no time whatsoever to get between us or bark her snout off...
    One of the many things I'm working on. She is an absolute handful but I regret nothing.

    4 hours later in hindsight I feel I may have overreacted. I'll spend extra time with her this weekend, do some hand feeding and the like
    Hopefully it was a one off

    Thank you all again

    Here is Grace Everton in happier, calmer times

    IMG_8747_zps1c7b221e.jpg

  7. #7
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    She is absolutely gorgeous!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Brisbane, Australia
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    I shouldn't start... but I will!

    Here are some more

    gg3_zps04bd97f1.jpg

    gg_zpse1d640c9.jpg

    photo2_zps911096f6.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Geelong, Vic
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    You didnt over react your dog BIT you. Frankly a good fright to stop the rot is well overdue.

    As for the mouthing/nipping to be expected, sorry that's rubbish. I have working dogs, as in protection bred working dogs and they don't dare bite me. This situation came from the fact the dog feels it's allowed to lay it's teeth on you, and when it felt jack of your presence it lashed out.

    It's not unusual for dogs to get a bit weird when the main caretaker leaves. But the behavior is unacceptable totally, put her back into YOUR expectations and rules, don't like it, tough. This is why I don't like the idea of self limiting mouthing ideas and swapsies, squealing etc. A firm thumb under the tongue when they're babies to get the point through and they never do it again. As for reading it wasn't the right reaction, again, it was fine. She over reacted because reality finally hit how unacceptable her behavior is, the memory might stick now. You have not scarred her for life at all, in fact I would ramp up the obedience training and how firmly you stick to the rules to show her you are the boss in the house and her terrible twos are not tolerated.

  10. #10
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    Aug 2013
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    Thank you Nekhbet
    When I said to be expected, I meant expected to come with the breed to be trained out of the habit... not to put up with it and live with it!

    Can I ask - Gracie still tends to get in moods when she will climb over us and bite at hands and the like
    It sounds to me like you've always been on top of this

    When I try to do what you suggest, the thumb under the tongue, it makes her worse, she will come back at me twice as bad
    She never wins, trust me. But it also doesn't seem to deter her from doing it again... and again and again
    Nor does anything else people suggest to us - spray bottle, loud noises, yelping, smacking, chilli on hands, man we've done it all

    We got her at 6 weeks old, we KNOW this is too young, we had no choice. She's from a farm 5/6 hours west of Brisbane and I'm confident they didn't plan on letting the litter live much longer, let alone to 8-10 weeks
    I know this adds to the biting inhibition problem. 6-8 is a very critical time for learning things like that as a pup.

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