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Old 02-03-2014, 02:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default adopted GSD snapping

Hello all! We adopted a 3.5 year old GSD mix from a shelter just over a week ago. Hed been adopted twice but brought back for not getting along well with cats or small children. Since we have had him hes been a dream. Weve had him at the dog park, which they said he would never be able to do and he did well! One time he became overwhelmed when the park quickly went from emtpy to crowded and so we left.



Anyway, last night we had company over for the super bowl. Hes never been in the house with anyone other than his 2 owners and had two incidents of snapping. In one, someone hugged him from behind and held him tight and Jackson (the dog) attemtped to bite his neck. In the other he tried to bite a lady that touched his paws. We were told he is sensitive about his paws but has been great with us.



After both offenses we put him in a room alone to relax for a couple minutes and then brought him back out. Is there anything we can do to avoid this behavior in the future? Im sure he was overstimulated and overwhelmed, but at the same time i dont want to make excuses and justify his behavior. Any help or advice is appreciated!


Gaby

Last edited by gvalenti; 02-03-2014 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 02-03-2014, 02:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Honestly.. you may just have to manage that behavior. Not saying it's not fixable but realize that coming from a rescue and 2 homes will have taken it's toll.

I would suggest at the moment not bringing him out when there are people around. He is ok to just be in another room relaxing and chewing on a bone. I would also DEFNIITELY get him to a trainer and have him evaluated. They would be able to help you figure out the ebst course of action.
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Old 02-03-2014, 02:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think a combination of time and management will help. You haven't had him very long so I would not allow anyone (other than a vet) to be hugging him or grabbing his paws. Instead, have visitors drop treats and allow him (the dog) to initiate physical interactions. I also adopted a dog at 3.5 years of age who would not accept that sort of restraint from people she didn't know (she would air snap). If people would not listen to my rules for interacting with my dog, then I would keep her in a crate or another room away from visitors, for her own comfort. Some dogs are just not going to be cool with people they don't know grabbing them in that way, especially when they are new to you and your house as well.
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Old 02-03-2014, 02:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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He clearly sounds overwhelmed with the changes in his life and you need to protect him too. Get a crate or two and, if you have company around, put him in his crate. He can then be with people without being overwhelmed. If he does not do well in a crate, either use a baby gate to place him in a different room (where he can still see people) or place him in another room by himself while the company is there.

He needs time to adjust and to settle in before you expect him to be good with unpredictable people.
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Old 02-03-2014, 02:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
I think a combination of time and management will help. You haven't had him very long so I would not allow anyone (other than a vet) to be hugging him or grabbing his paws. Instead, have visitors drop treats and allow him (the dog) to initiate physical interactions. I also adopted a dog at 3.5 years of age who would not accept that sort of restraint from people she didn't know (she would air snap). If people would not listen to my rules for interacting with my dog, then I would keep her in a crate or another room away from visitors, for her own comfort. Some dogs are just not going to be cool with people they don't know grabbing them in that way, especially when they are new to you and your house as well.
Great post.
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Old 02-03-2014, 03:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd advise you to pay attention to situations where the food is around. He musn't be present at parties, picnics or any other situation where many people gether in order to eat together. All your relatives and friends are strangers for him, he smells food and it is natural for dogs to be self-protective over food issues even if they really stuffed themselves before the guests arrived. Hugging and paw touching were read by him as attempts to shoo him away from the table. You, feeding your guests ( he knew that the food they ate appeared before they started to arrive, he smelled it from your hands) and giving them your attention provoked his jealosy. That, I guess, was the issue with children in the past.
So, I read it as a wish to be upgraded with the position in the pack because he is an adult dog. Some small "puppies" and some casual adults cannot possibly be that important for his owner as him - that was the thought which upset his apple cart. He, probably, would never have snapped at anyone if wasn't irritated by your guests. Please, don't forget that it was him who was upset first. He is upset, you are upset - I wouldn't bother training him something he might turn is unable to be trained in if I were you. Just lock him away every time you have a party.
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Old 02-03-2014, 03:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree with Lies. I don't see this having anything to do with food, but more the dog being in a new situation, overwhelmed and giving off warnings that he doesn't want to be hugged or have his paws messed with by a stranger..
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Old 02-03-2014, 04:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You put your dog in a bad situation. You have had him for less than 2 weeks. Everything is already new to him. He doesn't know you and you don't know him. He doesn't need to go to dog parks right now and he definitely doesn't need to be exposed to a lot of new people. It is very stressful for him. If it was my dog, I would do the two week shut down. Some people would disagree. IMO, it does no harm and could reduce the risk of potential problems. Here is the link http://www.bigdogsbighearts.com/2_week_shutdown0001.pdf It explains the why and the how.

Give the dog a chance to acclimate to his new environment. Take it slow and do not allow him to become overwhelmed.
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Old 02-03-2014, 04:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Don't let guests overwhelm your dog and please stop putting him in situations that set him up for failure, like the dog park. He deserves a stable home where you prevent stressful situations and put his emotional needs above your own desires to have a socially outgoing dog. You need to make it easy for him to be a good dog. He doesn't know you from Adam and doesn't trust you yet.

I would focus on having him bond with your family and sign up for positive reinforcement-oriented obedience classes. He doesn't understand who all these new people are. In the future you may be able to desensitize him to touch but I would start with giving him time to adjust.


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Old 02-03-2014, 04:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I also agree with Lies!! But I would really like to add that I am super impressed with your new pup! That was a whole lot going on for him at your party. He still hasn't really settled into his new life. He is still going to be a bit nervy about everything. What he did to your guests was to warn them that he didn't like what they were doing to him. He could have very easily caused significant damage to any of your guests, but he chose to warn instead.

Don't misunderstand, his behavior should not be allowed. But at this point in his life he created his own boundries and didn't actually harm anybody. Whereas he may not have the best foundation for you to begin to build on, he certainly has something special to work with!
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