I have adopted a 10 month old dog from a lost dogs home. When I am feeding him, if I try and touch him, he growls, etc. Tonight when I fed him, he bit me. Any training tips for this out there? I just want him to know that he will always get his dinner, and that there is no need for him to guard it.
The best resource would be local animal rescue groups in your area or you can try calling your local (preferably no-kill) animal shelter or police animal control to report the potential animal abuse. People who abuse animals are a short step from abusing people.
http://www.1-800-save-a-pet.com/ looks like a useful resource to find local animal rescue groups.
Oh, and don't forget about the click-to-give at http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com
Editor's Note Thanks Anon for the links. This person would like help in teaching her rescued dog that it has a good home now, and will always be fed. Sally for ThriftyFun (01/20/2008)
Regarding food issue: When you feed him, do it from several different bowls placed in different areas of the house. Not more food, just divide it up among different bowls. In this way, he will hopefully figure out that he has access to more than just that one bowl of food and doesn't need to be possessive of it. I suggest you check out Warren Eckstein's website: www.thepetshow.com. This is advice I learned from listening to his show.
In the meantime, I'd give him his space while eating. Stay in the same room perhaps, but don't stare or touch him. Let him get used to your presence and once he really learns that he doesn't need to worry about food, he will probably lighten up.
Regarding skiddish dog: Time and patience. Our rescue was 9 months old and afraid of all kinds of things. A man was definitely not nice to her. She wouldn't let my husband near her for two weeks. If she responded to your husband and son before, pick ONE of them to be the main contact with her for the time being. The rest of you may just need to hang back until she is more comfortable. Maybe have him approach her with something irresistible, like steak, in order to reestablish contact with her.
Eating and drinking are the last things on a dog's mind when they are nervous. Unless she needs immediate medical attention, I'd wait on the vet until she is a bit more comfortable. It sounds like she has had a lot of change and needs to get used to her new situation with you before she's going to calm down. My girl (now almost four years old) loves my husband and while she is no golden retriever, she is much more comfortable with new people and new situations.
Good luck to you both. Kelly, Michigan (01/20/2008)
By Kelly Krumm
Allow the dog time to adjust to its new owners, home environment and meal time. Patience is the key word and sit near the dog while it's eating, but don't bother the food bowl once it has been given to the dog or touch the dog while it's eating, as it's apparent the dog doesn't trust yet.
You might want to try extending treats to the dog other times during the day and let it take it from your hand once its more comfortable with you. Have family members talk to the dog often so it can get used to your voices and pet the dog too. This way the dog will learn to trust all of you more. (01/20/2008)
The Australian RSPCA uses the hand in the food bowl as a last check to see if a rescued and retrained dog is family suitable. If the dog remains possessive over its food (continues to growl and bite) it is not able to be placed in a home.
While you are trying to coax him around, give him encouragement when eating. Try to train him to wait for his dinner once it is placed on the ground, you might need other treats to keep his mind off the dinner bowl as you get started.
I wouldn't let any children play with the dog until you are satisfied that the possessiveness has gone. Once he feels safe and comfortable in your home, test his behavior yourself doing things children might. (01/20/2008)
Give these abused babies time. Some need days, some weeks, some months and some years. I have a puppy mill Bichon Frise. She was in a cage for 3 1/2 years and has been with me since Sept 2006. She is still skittish at times. She does come to me and she does play and she loves me very much, but about 2 months ago she was in front of the bathroom door and the lights were off and I couldn't see her. I almost stepped on her and yelled. For 10 days she reverted to the way she was a year and 3 months ago. She wouldn't come to me and she slept on the floor instead of in bed with us. I was distraught and considered giving her back to the rescue group since she was so terribly unhappy, but I held out and continued to talk to her and sit on the floor with her and she came around. I guess she was just insulted. Give your babies time and love and they will come around. And bless you all for taking them in and giving them forever homes! (01/21/2008)
It takes lots of love, patience, and understanding. 10 years ago we adopted our dog Lady, she had been beaten, and yelled at, she would run under the bed at the slightest loud noise. She was with us almost a year before she would wrestle with my husband or chase a ball with my daughters. Just keep the food bowl full, stay in the room when he eats, and just talk to him in a soft reassuring voice. It will take time but it's worth it, I have never regretted getting our Lady. Good luck. (01/21/2008)
My advise for now is to just leave him alone when he is eating. Too many changes have occurred in his life already. Please let him adjust. It may be that he will always be food protective. If this is the case, do not let any young children to be near him when he eats. On the safe side, feed him in his crate. Woofey (01/21/2008)
Well I have a different take than the others. If it were mine I would hand feed it every morsel one by one. Use a glove if you need to, but he will learn that the hand is a good thing, not a bad thing. Very time consuming, but well worth it. (01/21/2008)
Give your dog a chance to get use to you and don't try to touch him, he will eventually realize you mean him no harm and will warm up to you. Just talk to him every day in a soothing voice and don't show fear around him, dogs can sense this in people. He is just afraid he will be punished or hit. When a dog bites you it's because he has been hit before and it is a defense mechanism. Just be patient and don't force him, he will come around when he senses he can trust you. (01/21/2008)
I have nothing but praise for anyone that rescues a dog or any animal for that matter. But please tell me why on earth would you want to pet the dog while he is eating? Let him be and let him eat. Then give him love and affection. (01/22/2008)
Thank you everybody for your interesting comments. You have given me many new ideas to think about. I really love this website - don't you all too? Thanks, Kate (01/23/2008)
My neighbor has a dog. It's a white husky, one eye is blue and the other eye green. He's about 5 months old and he's adorable. They keep him in their apt. tied to a very short leash in the kitchen. They don't feed him and don't give him much water so they don't have to walk him. When he does need to do his necessities he does it there in that little spot where they keep him. No one cleans it. His white fur is all stained yellow from him sleeping on his own pee. The apt. is in horrible conditions, too. You can smell it from the outside. I've told them to give him away. That I will find someone who will take care of it, but they refuse to do it since they want to sell it for $1,500. He cries all the time. I recently contacted a animal rescue to save it but they haven't responded. The poor puppy cries all day. Any place I can contact? Thanks. Nicole
Editor's Note: Nicole, you could try contacting the landlord. They probably wouldn't be happy with the situation. Also keep calling animal control and see if you can get other neighbors to call, too. It sounds like a situation worth resolving. (04/18/2008)
Reading all this feedback is very helpful. I bought a King Charles Cavalier about 4 months ago and was told he was a 2 year old, shy dog in good health. It turned out he was 9 years old, had infections in both ears, rotten teeth (they pulled 11) and still runs whenever we come in the room from years of neglect and abuse (according to our Vet). Even though he uses the doggie door often, lately he's been going on the floors again. We have had him fixed, put in a chip, healed, cleaned, etc. and try to love on him as often as we can. I now realize this is going to take some time before he doesn't feel afraid of us, and it may take a long time. (05/08/2008)
By Susan from Dallas, TX
Give it time to get used to a nice loving family. He will learn to trust you in time.
I have also recently adopted a dog and she likes to bite and I have found that if they try, pull the dinner away and say no and then give it back and try to pet him again. If he bites pull it away and say "no" and keep doing it until he stops. But do not try to leave him without food.
I think you should leave the bowl there, when he isn't in the room just fill it again. A good way to tell dogs who is boss, is to barely tap them on their nose. That is their weak spot and they will lay down. (02/10/2009)
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