Our Sweet and Crazy Coonhound ...

Our Sweet and Crazy Coonhound ...
Run Free: birthdate unknown - Oct. 17 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bringing in the Pro

Well. Booker bit Samantha. The quiet, gentle teenager of the house. It's not a bad bite, actually, not much more than a scratch on one finger.

But it was frightening. And Samantha, in her determined, non-flexible way, has closed her door, literally. She has had enough. Booker is high maintenance.

So tomorrow, we have an appointment with a trainer, Mark Coe of Sit means Sit. I need a different perspective. I need someone to tell me "yes, stick with it," or "you will never be able to trust this dog."

Our family has 7 months invested in loving Booker. He is a great great dog in so many ways. He doesn't chew or destroy or mess, he is crate-trained, he is housebroken. He doesn't bark inside. He walks like a dream on the leash. But I don't want to feel like I have to rationalize and "forgive" his huge failing as a housepet. He has this "cujo" demon that is not acceptable to wage upon anyone in the house. It feels dangerous at times and while I feel confident that I can deal with it, I do not live alone.

I am thinking good thoughts for the rescue -- the TOTAL rescue -- of Booker. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Meanwhile, the small human is barricaded in her room.


Bolo said...

Speaking as a dog, I have to be the devil's advocate and ask what did the child do for Booker to bite her? Also speaking as a dog, training is a great idea. Booker, make sure you get lots of treats!

Saint Lover said...

Get his thyroid checked too.. alot of aggression issues stem from out of whack thyroids and if this is a random yet on going problem, testing is a very good place to start looking for answers. Good luck with the behaviorist/trainer... I hope he has positive things to say.

River said...

From River's mom:
Over 3 decades and more I have taken in, worked with and made tough decisions for hundreds of dogs we've rescued. There were a few (this was BC, Before Cesar Millan) that were aggressive--2 black labs,a german shepherd and a boxer mix (you see, I will never forget them). No amount of work (and I was limited in time and money and the world didn't know as much about animal psychology then) seemed to make a difference. I knew that I could never trust them--either in another house or in mine. In an ideal world, I wish I could have found a way to rehab them but I couldn't back then. I know people and dogs will say keep him at all costs but that is not always possible or practical (I know, the heart is NOT practical). Do the best you can with what resources you have and then decide on his quality of life and yours and what sacrifices are truly worth making to keep him with you. Would the rescue take him back? That was always our rule--even a decade later we would take the dogs back. These are options to consider. I will be very interested in what the trainer has to say.

Best wishes, sending positive thoughts. I truly understand what you're going through.


Charlie Daniels said...

Was it a reactive bite and if so what was he reacting to? Was it an intentional nip or just an accident?

I hope Samantha isn't too scared to come out of her room again and I hope some training can get this sorted ...



Patience-please said...

We're sending our best positive thoughts for everything to work out for every body... It's so, so hard, what you're going through.

solemn wags from the whippets


Woof Booker

Aw come on, it was just a little bite. We chew on Mom all the time.
Hope everypup and humans are doing o.k.

Desert Pups

Maggie and Mitch said...

Our paws are crossed that this problem will work out with hard work and patience!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Biggie-Z said...

Oh good luck to you. Biggie went through some periods of terrible cujo-ness. Sometimes people send mixed messages, especially if they're tentative. Booker seems young - Biggie went through a period when he would "test" people to see what he could get away with. So he would snap at them or do these aggressive displays to see if he could scare them. If he chased them away or was able to dominate them, that would of course reinforce his behavior.

I'm sure the trainer will be able to help, but the people in his house need to not show fear (even if they feel it inside). Booker needs to learn from Samantha that he cannot dominate her, which unfortunately means she has to project confidence and dominance. She doesn't need to be harsh to him (I'm not a fan of Cesar Millan, actually), but just firm and not fearful. One option is the "nothing in life is free" plan, where he has to work for every bit of kibble by obeying Samantha. No food from anyone else, she controls when he goes out (even if it's just to open the door for you), and he MUST exercise self-control when she is around.

:( I'm so sorry. Biggie has "bit" people like that before - I say "bit" because like Booker he was obviously exercising bite control, but is still extremely disturbing when it happens. He did that to my Mom, trying to dominate her, and I really thought we were going to have to get rid of him. After about 24 hours he came around and he accepted her leadership.

I have a series of posts on my blog about aggression/dominance and how to deal with it, because kuvasz are pretty tough that way - look at the "So you think you want a kuvasz" posts and one by Anonymous Dave, or any of the "temperament" or "training" posts.

And again, our thoughts are with you. Having been down that road before, it is tough and scary and heartbreaking, especially since you have put so much care into Booker. We are hopeful - and let us know how it goes!

Biggie + his Momma