Complicated Situation w/ Dog that Bites - need serious adivce
I feel as if I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place and am in need to some serious advice. Please don't flame me - I know this is a terrible situation which is why I'm asking for help. This is probably going to be long, but here it goes..
Due to unforseen circumstance, my Mom has moved in with my husband and I. It's a temporary situation, but we're not sure how temporary - she could be here for a year or more. My household was harmonious prior to her moving in. We have 2 dogs an 1 cat - all neuterd males. The dogs are 6 yrs and 10 months and both are large - 60+ lbs. The older dog is the boss but he's not unfriendly, and the puppy is very submissive and wants to be friends with everyone. The cat is not particularly fond of dogs, but they usually leave him alone, and he sticks up for himself when he needs to. The cat has a room in the house that he can escape to and the dogs aren't allowed access to.
Fast forward to last week when mom moved in. She has a male dachshund - approx 4 yrs old and neutered. She got him when he as about 2 yrs old and he was not neutered at that time. We are unsure of his background, but it has become obvious that he was abused and possibly starved. When she got him, my mom had another dachshund who was older and they got along ok. However, he passed away over a yr ago and this dog has been her only since then. He has had the issues I'm about to describe since she got him.
The dachshund is incredibly possessive of anything he percieves as "his" - this includes food, toys, his crate and even the water bowl if he's near it. He guards these items from the other dogs, the cat and even us. If he is in his crate with a toy or food, no one can get near the crate without him freaking out. Sometimes you can't even look at him or he will start growling. The three dogs get along ok as long as there isn't anything around for him to guard - but this is not feasible to do in my home. He also doesn't like to be moved when he's sleeping and sometimes he will growl when he's picked up. This dog has bitten my mom, myself and a few other people and drawn blood. He has also attacked my older dog when a bone was near and caused a huge fight because my older dog is not the type to back down if provoked. I know for certain that if he were a bigger dog or if anyone had reported the bites, he would have been PTS. My mom doesn't want this to happen, so I'm trying to find a way to help her.
She had someone in the past who came to check him out and they said he could be rehabilitated, but my mom hasn't put in the effort and has just tried to deal with it. I'm not ok with that. I've never had an aggressive dog before and I really don't know what to do. I haven't been able to locate any behaviorists in our area. I've thought about reaching out to a Dachshund rescue for advice - is this a good idea? Does anyone know of any dachshund rescues? I'm really desparate for help in this situation. He may be small, but he's truly dangerous and its only a matter of time before he seriously hurts someone. If anyone has any ideas, I'm open to anything.
Your Mom could put his crate and things in her bedroom and shut the door. For that matter maybe he could be crated part of the time. A muzzle might also be handy at times. It would be a pain but anything that will keep you from having to interact with the dachshund would be beneficial
I would find a trainer used to working with dogs who are resource-guarders. That's what he's doing (besides biting when you pick him up when he's asleep--my suggestion there is "Don't pick him up when he's asleep, wake him up so you don't startle him") with food, toys, etc. and that alone doesn't mean he was starved or abused. I have to play referee when my dogs are eating because the Corgi will get pushy when she finishes faster than Puff. Given what she looked when I got her at the pound I doubt she's ever missed a meal in her life. She just doesn't like other dogs touching her stuff and wants all the foods. If the dachshund is only biting when he perceives his stuff is threatened (food, bone, toy, whatever) that's your problem and a professional trainer could help.
Also, was this something he did all along, or just since the move? Because his life has just been REALLY upended--he's gone from one of two dogs to only dog to now moving into a new territory with a bunch of strange dogs and people and cat and he really doesn't feel secure. That is not going to help a dog who is prone to resource guarding.
If your mom is not willing to put in any effort, your money on a trainer would be wasted. it would be a LOT of work and everyone would need to be 'on board'. I'm not sure what a rescue could do for help except offer names for training.
I am sorry, it sounds like a tough and stressful situation for all. If there was anyway to keep him seperated from the rest without upseting your mother that may be something to consider. If you want suggestions for a trainer we would need your location. I hope you find answers that work for everyone.
I'd suggest isolating your mother's dog to her room. She can walk him on a leash and allow playtime in the yard while the other dogs are in the house. I used to have an airedale I couldn't trust with cats. She just wasn't ever going to be cat-safe. I kept them separate during the day while I was at work. (Cats indoors, dog outside) When I came home from work, the cats would be put in a separate room and the dog would be with me and the other dogs in the evening. At bedtime, the dog was crated and the cats had the run of the house, and time with me. It was a logistical puzzle, but I made it work and never had an accident. But I never got lackadaisical or complacent about it - the routine was the routine.
An ex pen might help with keeping everyone separate. Contact your vet and see if he or she can recommend a trainer. Perhaps you could help your mom by working with the dog if she isn't able to. It isn't your job, but it might make living with this dog easier.
So what does a trainer do to work with a resource guarding dog? I have the dog but no trainer options...
We're getting along pretty well with micromanaging but I wonder just what does one do about it, other than keep everyone separate? Or is that it?
Maybe put a sharper point on it for the OP and anyone else (me)?
Limit opportunities for them to guard (ie separate from other dogs), and practice Trade up games/drop it games.
But to keep everyone safe for now, keep dog separate from others. I'd also keep a short leash and harness on him while he is in mom's rm. That way if she needs to move him, she can use leash rather than trying to pick up.
I honestly don't see how any training or behavior modification will happen without everyone in the household being on board. I don't think two of you trying to manage this, without Mom being a full participant.
The latest example of my dog's issue-last night we got a new bag of dog food and my teenage son brought it in from the truck for me. Usually it goes right in the Dog Food Location but he just dropped it by the back door and had other chores to do. My freaky dog sat next to the out of place bag of food and guarded it. If a cat ran by she shnarfed at the cat. She rushes them and slobbers on them but has never bitten anyone to draw blood but she does scare all of us. I noticed the problem and went to put the food away and then got interrupted (it was hectic here last night) and so I got it halfway to the Right Place and in the minute or two that I had to wait she schnarfed on the chi pup for just walking by. Once the food is in the right place, she's totally fine, but if it's in a new place she guards it. She is fed separately b/c we've had too many cases where if another dog looks at her food she attacks and in those cases it turns into a real fight. And sometimes she loses. Her demeanor the entire time is worried, concerned, eyebrows up, like she WANTS it and will FIGHT for it but isn't sure that she's doing the right thing... maybe I'm reading her wrong? If we scold her or rush in to save the victim she hits the floor and is sorry and seems regretful and submissive...
She's in very good weight and gets fed pretty dang well, full servings and fed twice a day. Her mother was food obsessed and I'm scared she's going to do the same thing... All fed at the same time, she's fed totally separate. She isn't possessive about toys or chews but sometimes she is about her chair... (it's a non-human chair, a glorified dog bed)
The easiest solution for the humans is to have all the Dachshund's stuff in the mom's bedroom - crate, food, water, toys, etc., so he can't guard them in public (though beware of entering his bedroom) - and then basically have Dachshund live in the bedroom unless either the other dogs are out, or you're around to watch everyone like a hawk. And even then, if one of the larger dogs will quickly help the Dachshund start a fight? I wouldn't have those two in the same place at all.
I have a friend with a pissy small dog who spent years biting everything that moved, and one helpful thing she did was have him more or less live in a harness and lead. That way, she could get hold of him without him getting hold of her.
The latest example of my dog's issue-last night we got a new bag of dog food and my teenage son brought it in from the truck for me. Usually it goes right in the Dog Food Location but he just dropped it by the back door and had other chores to do. My freaky dog sat next to the out of place bag of food and guarded it. If a cat ran by she shnarfed at the cat. She rushes them and slobbers on them but has never bitten anyone to draw blood but she does scare all of us. I noticed the problem and went to put the food away and then got interrupted (it was hectic here last night) and so I got it halfway to the Right Place and in the minute or two that I had to wait she schnarfed on the chi pup for just walking by. Once the food is in the right place, she's totally fine, but if it's in a new place she guards it. She is fed separately b/c we've had too many cases where if another dog looks at her food she attacks and in those cases it turns into a real fight. And sometimes she loses. Her demeanor the entire time is worried, concerned, eyebrows up, like she WANTS it and will FIGHT for it but isn't sure that she's doing the right thing...
if it's ok with you, I'll start another thread for this.