I have a 10 month old Old English Sheepdog that has attacked my 4 year old stepson twice now. The first time he growled and knocked him down like he was going to bite him. The agression began as he became excited over a dog being walked down the street he started barking and as my stepson entered the kitchen door from outside he attacked him. His father disciplined the dog and was then bitten. We felt that it was the excitement of the dog being outside and watched him very carefully to make sure he wasn't showing any signs of agression towards the 4 year old. Everything has gone fine the boy has since feed him treats, played with him outside throwing a ball, chasing him around etc. Then one evening we was all watching a movie and eating popcorn and my stepson had fed him a couple and set the bowl down. He went to pick it up and my dog, Shaggy attacked him this time breaking the skin through his sweat shirt. We got this dog at 7 months from someone that said they didn't have time for him as they had a poodle as well but, I have noticed this dog he is very aggressive around food. Anytime he is eating he will growl a warning to anyone near him. I have been thinking about that night and each time my stepson was even close to Shaggy as he was chewing his bone, Shaggy would growl and moved away. I didn't pick up on that because sometimes he brings it near us and does the playful growl wanting to play tug. I'm afraid if I can't get this under control I will need to get rid of him and that will break my heart. Any ideas?
WOW... I think I'd bring him immediately to obedience school...before your step son is scarred for life. It could get and probably will get worse and you can't turn the clock backwards and wish you had done something earlier.
Remember: You should always be able to put your hand in the food while your dog is eatting. This is VERY VERY important...before he gets older! He should know you are the one feeding him and not a threat to him and his food. This is something you train early in life with.. but it's NOT too late..you need a pro-trainer to help you now achieve this.
Now you KNOW this is happening...and you know as he gets older it'll get worse... So if you don't want to think of the safety of your stepson first.. then you'd better think, because someday a friend of his, or company of yours, will be over and the dog WILL attacked & bit them... you'd better have GOOD HO Insurance because you WILL end up with a BIG law suit. Plus in NYS, you'll loose you HO insurance from that point on. I am only telling you this...because I am living proff of this. I was attacked by 2 Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs... and it was below the shoulder... I was number 7 in 11 months.. but the rest were bought off.. I was told by an attorney that I could settle for a little OR take away thier HO Insurance in NYS and they can't keep thier mortgage in NYS with out it... so I DID... I took away their HO INSURANCE.. they had to sell thier townhouse real fast and moved to Florida. Atleast I can sleep now knowing that there wasn't a number 8 !! And about Florida..hopefully they have the same laws.
That is my next action with him. I have had dogs all my life and know that an Old English Sheepdog is strong willed but also a dog with a good temperament. I just need to get this under control very quickly. Thanks for the advise.
My Experience with dogs that redirect aggression has not been good. I work with dogs that seem to be prone to this type of behavior. Let me explain, I train dogs called Malinois. Some seem to have this trait. More than other breeds. I have yet to see a dog get rehabilitated. Though I think OB is good. I do not think it will cure this problem. The dogs I work with are trained to an extremely high level. This does not seem to curb the behavior one bit. Discpline seems to even make it worse. And I do not think this stems out of dominace. more out of fustration. The dog gets so excited and anxious it will redirect the aggression on something that seems to have nothing to do with the situation like your son.
My experinece has shown me this behavior tends to escalate getting worse with every episode. My advice is do not get a trainer. Get a behaviorist with a degree in animal behavior. This out of the realm of dog training and into the realm of the psychology of animals.
I believe a dog's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment he holds dear, is when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-with a ball in his mouth."
Thanks. As I have never had any of my dogs trained professionally, we taught them ourselves, that maybe the answer to my problem as the obedience training will teach him to listen however the behavioral trainer can possibly get to the root of the problem and help me calm him down. He is still a puppy even though its hard to see him as that because he is a big dog. I have been working with him as I feed him his meals I stand near but not touching so he can see that its not a threat for someone to be around while he has food. So far he still growls but its only been a short while and I'm still hopeful. It just doesn't make sense to me because he will take food from your hand very gently he doesn't nip or grab when you feed him this way but if its in a bowl he gets very defensive with it.
Lets try and break down the incidents, and look at the root of the problem. First, you have 10 month old dog, who is quite possibly going through ranking stages. Next you have a helpless 4 year old. Guarding objects is a natural behavior in dogs (if left to their own devices)We know that dogs at an early age can learn that there is no need to guard food, in this case he probly didn't learn at an early age. Imprinting, or the most important age for learning is before 4 months.In puppy classes we teach the give and take exercises, and tell owners to NEVER take something from a dog without giveing something good in return. This way a dog never feels the need to guard an object or food.If you just take it away, then he has a reason to guard it. Its a natural behavior, so punishing/disciplining a dog for showing the behavior is only going to escalate the guarding, and the stress around the object or food. We also teach puppies patience. Dogs don't understand the reason for punishments. If another dog comes near another dog while its eating, he will turn on the other dog, guarding his food. In the wild this would keep him alive. The excitment over the dog walking down the street is not excitment at all, but fustration, some people punch walls when they are fustrated, toddlers throw tantrums, which is very similar to the behavior your describing, he just redirected the tantrum onto the four year old, and to make things worse for the four year old, now the dog will start to associate punishments from the father and the toddler. The father was bitten because the dog was simply trying to protect himself, becasue again dogs can't mentally put together the reasons for the punishment. The popcorn incident is well kind of obvious, popcorn is going to be highly valued by the dog, he was guarding the food. Biteing the toddler is unfortunate, you need to start a bite inhibition routine to teach the dog how to use his mouth. In conclusion you need to protect the youngster from a dog that shows food and object aggression. Start the Nothing in Life is for free training Start a bite inhibition program NO FREE FEEDING Give and Take Exercises Stop giveing the dog reasons to guard Less freedom in the house Teach Patience More exercise!!!!!!! Basic obediance is a must, you can't control a moveing car without a steering wheel, if you catch my drift.
***Edited By: sue on 11/26/2007 1:28:20 PM*** Reason: cause I forgot one
When I look up into the sky, I think to myself, Wheres the ceiling?