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Old 07-11-2007, 10:49 AM   #1
Jennifer Conlin
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Hey all, anyone that knows me knows I love dogs. Last year I got Louie. He's a rescue.
This is the third boxer I've had. None of them have been good with other dogs. Which is always a bummer but I can work with it.
Over the last year I've seen Louie have some fear issues. First he snapped at the vet when she went to look at his ears. He looked so scared his eyes looked crazy. Then we took him to Pet smart hotel to have him kenneled when we went away. When I was dropping him off one of the workers reached over him to take the leash and he snapped at him twice.
Again I took him to the vet and again he snapped at them so he had to be muzzled. Then today we were going to go to the beach for two nights. I took him for a long walk and swim them off to pet smart hotel for two nights. I asked them if I could put there name band around his neck and they were aware of his history.
I left feeling like OK he'll be OK.
Not five minuets later I got a call to come pick him up. As they were trying to take off his pinch collar he bit the attended on the hand, just a scratch. Then he just freaked out and ran around scared out of his mind not wanting anyone to touch him.
I have to be honest I'm not feeling to positive right now. How can I live with a dog that I can't trust?
He's great with me and Diane. He loves our other dog Sophie. He can sit, stay, come, lay down and drop leave it. Oh, he can also jump fences! Yikes!
But now I just can't leave him with anyone.
I've seen the look in his eyes even when he wants to like other people. As they pat his head and are all up in his face he looks uncertaint.
I've always said the if I had a dog that bit someone I would have to have the dog put down. Now I'm faced with this issue.
What if it were a kid? Or a friend? As it is the people at pet smart are being kind in that they are not going to write it up as a bite. Just as a snap. Since in Montgomery county that would mean he would be Quarantine for 21 days. At which point I think it would kill him and me.
I love him so much he has become my best buddy. Yet, you have to draw the line at some point we don't have loads of money to go to all kinds of behaviorist and try stuff that may or may not work. Not to mention we are out $350 for canceling or reservations for the B&B!!! Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 07-11-2007, 11:00 AM   #2
Bob Holman
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Hi Jennifer -

First off, you are doing the right thing by searching for all alternatives and seeking help.

I don't have any specific advice, other than to point you towards an excellent dog training forum that you most likely will find answers to your questions.

Leerburg Kennels is a well respected and long time breeder of working German Shepherds. They have a very active and knowledgeable forum.

Wish you the best,


Last edited by Lynne Pitts; 07-20-2008 at 10:32 AM..
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:02 PM   #3
John Seiler
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Hi Jen,

So sorry to hear this. My pit, Marci, is a rescue and she's got some fear issues outside but it manifests differently. I also understand what you're saying. I've always told myself the same thing in regards to a biting dog. Obviously it's much easier said than done.

It sounds like A.) you've got a serious decision to make. Are you willing to spend the time and energy at rehabilitating him? B.) If so, you're going to have to turn yourself into dog behaviorist/therapist. C.) Since this behavior is new, you have to take a HARD look at your leadership. You will have to be positive that you're honestly and openly looking at your behavior, and if there are any possible ways it might lead to insecurity or uncertainty of his place in the pack.

BTW, what has been your reaction to his snapping? Are you immediately flipping/submitting him? Will he let you? Are concerned about him biting you in this situation? If he's not stable enough for you to take full physical control of him, even in fear state, my hopes wouldn't be high. If he's stable enough to recognize your leadership/dominance in fear state, my hopes are higher.

My heart really goes out to you Jen. I'll keep you and Louie in my prayers.

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Old 07-11-2007, 12:31 PM   #4
Michael Salewski
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Hi Jen,

If I may add my .02. I'm a vet who works with alternative medicine (chiropractic, acupuncture, and Chinese herbs). I see a lot of cases similar to yours. Along with training, dietary and herbal therapy can be very rewarding--not to drug your dog into oblivion, but address the underlying imbalances created by the environments dogs need rescuing from. It does take patience and time, but with both, most dogs will recover without needing to be on herbs for a lifetime. Hope this helps,

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Old 07-11-2007, 01:30 PM   #5
Andrew James
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You need to be careful about the issue of legal liability.

Given that you know your dog has violent propensities, you won't be able to have much of a defense when/if he bites someone and they sue.
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:47 PM   #6
Connie Morreale
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not to mention how you would never forgive yourself if a child/elderly person was harmed or traumatized.
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Old 07-12-2007, 10:18 AM   #7
John Maloney
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Cesar Milan Dog whisperer

Last edited by Lynne Pitts; 07-20-2008 at 10:33 AM.. Reason: unqualified link
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Old 07-12-2007, 11:55 AM   #8
Jonathan Rich
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If you haven't already, really take a look at the website Bob mentioned. I have four dogs, all which are rescues. One of the females, a German Shepard, is a very dominant dog. Not with people, but very much with the other dogs. It got to the point where she was picking fights almost weekly with the other large female. After doing some reading on the Leerburg website I realized most of the problems were from the way I was interacting with my dogs. I really had to change a lot of my habits around my dogs. I believe most behavioral problems in dogs can be fixed if you can establish yourself as pack leader. It may take a lot of adjustment of your part, but you can do it. Good luck.
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:56 PM   #9
Jennifer Conlin
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Thanks all I'll keep you posted.
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Old 07-12-2007, 11:32 PM   #10
Kat Campise
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It is very interesting that I caught this thread just after watching several days of the Dog Whisperer Marathon on National Geographic.

I second what John posted. Seriously. I GOT a dog because of what I learned from just watching that show (and my parents s***** when it came to training dogs, so I wasn't really a "dog" person until I became hooked on the Dog Whisperer).

It really comes down to the people rather than the dogs.

The situation is fixable.

He is in an anxious state of mind when around people he does not know. The goal is to get him into a calm/submissive state with your own, calm/assertive energy. I've seen an episode where Cesar had the very same issue with a dog who freaked out at the Vet's office. The dog was muzzled. Essentially, what Cesar did was maintain his calm and allowed the dog work out the energy until he was tired out (Cesar uses certain touches and pressure points on the dogs as well), then, he placed the dog in the submissive pose since he was already going that way (work with Mother Nature, he always says) and reward the behavior with calm affection (not excited overdone affection)...this helps to reset the dogs mind/body programming...

Of course, this is only one method, and you must do what is best for you and your own state of mind...there could be other issues not overtly in your mind (Cesar normally has a mini conference with the dog's people prior to adjusting the situation)...

As soon as anyone backs off from the dog when he snaps, he has established himself as the leader of the situation and aggression will tend to continue until it gets to the "red zone"...if you project the fear that Louie will bite someone, then you are encouraging Louie's anxiety around people he doesn't know...

Fear will only breed more fear...

Do you walk Louie before you take him to the Vet? How much time do you spend walking the dog..dogs are pack animals, they look to you for leadership, if you do not give it, they will naturally take the lead.

Boxers are a working breed...and they can be considered to be hard to train (hmmm a little headstrong like myself I suppose)...just like many of us Crossfitters, work him hard, and he will have less energy to fight with the vet or be anxious around others...I've seen Cesar do this too..on working breeds, he gets a doggie backpack, fills it with water bottles, and takes the dog for a walk...that gets much of the excess energy out and re-establishes you as the pack leader...

I'm not stating, at all, that it will be easy...I can just identify with the working breeds as when I have a rest day, or I get bored, I get anxious, I don't want to be around anyone, and I'm sure if I were a boxer, I'd be snapping at people with my teeth as well...

Just some thoughts...

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