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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a new foster, Bozo, whom has only been with me for about 6 days. The previous history I have on him is that he was purchased as a puppy by a man for his son. Bozo was chained outside and that is where we believe he stayed always. Fast forward, Bozo is now approximately 2 years old and man calls a rescue person. She takes him in when the man threatens to shoot him because they no longer want him. New Rescue has him for almost 2 months.

At the rescue, he was in an outdoor kennel and would not fence fight with the other dogs. Most dogs he was fine with being in kennels next to him. Out of kennel dogs he would run and bark at the fence/kennel. Rescue person, thought he would be ok with some dogs, not others. Rescue person did not spend much time with him. She had some recent health problems that prevented her from working him. She called Echo and Echo agreed to foster him.

Again, long story short, I am his foster mom. I have about 15 years of training under my belt. I have had dog aggressive dogs in the past and managed to work with them in the home just fine. I have worked with a dog in the past with major possession aggression and managed things with him just fine. This current foster is totally different than what I am experienced in dealing with. I know it and not ashamed to admit it.

At this point I do not trust Bozo at all. The reasons are many but some of them are:
He is dog aggressive. On the one introduction I tried with one of my own dogs, Malfoy, Bozo attacked him. Both dogs were on lead. The leashes were loose. Malfoy was with my husband and I had Bozo. Watching Bozo very closely, I saw no signs for concern. He looked at Malfoy, but did not have an intense stare. There was no posturing or tail wagging or any clear body signs of too keen an interest or aggression or threat. There were no sounds either. Bozo appeared very relaxed. I allowed Bozo to walk up to Malfoy. The leash was loose the entire time for both dogs. Bozo did not rush up, walked calmly and went to sniff Malfoy's neck/side of his head. Malfoy was not looking at Bozo at all. There was a quick sniff of Malfoy's neck from Bozo and then he attacked. Hubby pulled Malfoy away quickly as I pulled Bozo away quickly. Hubby and Malfoy got scratched from teeth, but I think we reacted fast enough, there were no further injuries. Again, no sound or anything from Bozo. His lack of signals concerns me. Hubby is now holding a grudge against Bozo and nothing I do will change that (Malfoy is hubby's fav dog since Achielles passed away). So, now Bozo is not allowed around the other dogs at all.

Bozo is aloof. He does not seek out human contact. He is content to wander about on his own. Working on name game and such, but has no interest, even with food present. Will occasionally try to play with me, but does more bouncing away than anything else.

Bozo freezes or turns sharply when touched. He does not like being touched anywhere, except when he presents it, his head. His body tenses and he snaps his head around when touched on the side, back, hips etc.

He seems to have very little/no bite inhibition. When giving food by hand he just about takes my fingers off. Not in the way a dog that is trying to get just the food while working does (my Axel is like that) but grabs food/fingers/knuckle/hand, anything that doesn't drop the food. If held tightly, he just bites the hand, though not hard enough to puncture, deffiently harder than I am comfortable allowing other people to try to feed or play with him. He does this same thing with a toy. He is not restricting much in his bite. Deffiently needs more bite inhibition and manners about it all.

He does have other basic issues I would expect a brand new foster to have (not housetrained, likes to mark), no basic commands, dirty etc. These I am not concerned about. The other issues leave me hanging though.

I have talked to Echo about him already. We are all a bit up in the air about him as Echo was not able to personally test him before he came to me. I was fine with that by the way... also trusting of the previous rescue. So now... if I do keep and foster him, besides basic training, which I have minimally started, are there other things I can do to work on his bite inhibition training or is he too old? I will work on socializing to other dogs, but much much much more slowly and no visiting up close for a long time. I do have 2 year old twins and I do not trust him because I cannot read him. He really gives off little to none in the way of normal dog body language that I am accustomed to reading.

Sorry this is so long... additional training advice is welcome. Your thoughts are also appreciated. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I admit, when I decided to get back into fostering after about 4 years out of it, I didn't think I would be jumping into a tough case right off the bat lol. I do agree that just about everything is because of lack of being around people enough.

I am a bit concerned because lately things at home have been so hectic I haven't had a chance to do as much as he needs. Not to mention having to have him crated so much of the day because I can't trust him around the toddlers or my other dogs. I am doing the best I can at this point though. Hopefully things will settle a bit and I'll be able to spend more time working on desensitizing him to everything.

I teach obed classes and plan on bringing him with me today. I will see what I can do with him before class and after everyone leaves (continuous classes from 4 until about 7/8pm). I do clicker training and agree that I will be starting him off using this method. I will have to see how he is about taking food in a strange place as he has not been to the training building yet. Hopefully he is hungry enough! He did go 5 days without eating but has started to eat now at home, so he seems to be adjusting ok.

What would you suggest I start working on first though? Should I be focusing more on at home things, like not marking in the house and learning not to pace and whine and be anxious in the house or should I work more on desensitizing him to the other dogs in the house? maybe desensitizing with the kids? He has so many issues that I don't know where to begin really. I know clicker training will be a good start for manners, but that is the easy part and can be done fairly easily IMO at this point. His life issues are more worrisome at this point than his lack of training. I know training will build confience so I will deffinetly be starting... just wondering what others view points are on what should be the focus of his rehabilitation for a new home.

He is a pretty blank slate, but there are still concerns. His lack of proper body language, lack of bite inhibition and his hard to read anxiety cues are troubleing to me. His teeth are bigger and can cause a heck of a lot more damage than a 7 week old puppy's.

At any rate, sorry my posts are so long. I would like to have a successful start back into fostering though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am taking your advice (both of you). I left him home today when I went to class. I will leave him home until I feel he has settled in some here at home.

Thank you both for your advice and telling me your experineces. I will keep ya'll updated on his progress.

Anything else you or anyone else can think of would be great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Shepdog.

I don't think Hoss's (FKA Bozo) dog aggression is fear based. At least not from what I have observed thus far. I did let him see Malfoy and Axel earlier today while getting the two out of the truck after training and Hoss was in the fenced yard. He showed more normal doggy signs today while in the yard. He was so body forward, highly interested and dominate body posture. I saw no raised hair or worry on his face, just keen interest and forward motion. No verbalizing/vocalizing and was just too "high" to have been fear-based interest. I will have to take things very slow with him, but in the end I am thinking he will just not do well in a home with other dogs. I think I can get him to a point like Nina where he will be able to be walked around other well mannered dogs, but I doubt he will ever be able to live with them.

Hoss has started playing more with me, but not in ernest. He is showing more submissiveness to me and my husband, even though we have really given no cause for it. He has taken to even exposeing his belly when we approach
I have been told in the past that just myself is very intimidating. I carry myself "high" I suppose and have an energy and air of confidence that I find most dogs pick up on. I have done nothing but clicker training with him and it's even been all without a leash on in the house and in the yard. The only times I have even had him leashed were in the house to prevent him from marking everything in sight and stay away from the other dogs while in their crates. He is turning out to be a very sweet and loving boy afterall and loves to have his ears rubbed


Anyway, he is on a strict NILIF program also. He has been crated a lot lately too because of his limping (see left leg limping thread). I have stopped a lot of the clicker work with him right now because of the limping. Vet appt in progress for that again btw. Thankfully he is not an escape artist and is content in the fenced yard when he is out there.

I will take your suggestion and simplify things even more for him. Take it down to housetraining, sit and touching his back (not something he is super touchy about but a good place to start with handleing I think).

You are right it is so hard sometimes to not rush things a bit. I would love to see him go to a forever home without other dogs or very young children (I have 2 yr old twins) where more time can be spent with him and his rehabilitation. When I agreed to foster him, we didn't know he had these issues otherwise a different foster home might have been more appropriate. But he is with me now and I will do the best I can with him! Thank you for taking the time to let me know about your experiance with a similar type dog.
Oh and BTW, I figured out how to get him to stop chomping my hand for the treat ... LOL I just toss it to him for now. Later (probably much later) I will work on easiness with taking it (Zen work).
 
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