Tagged: Human directed aggression
I have a 15 lbs mixed breed that we rescued in April of 2019, named Layla. She is approximately 5 years old. We knew she had fear agression issue when we adopted her. She would bite strangers, especially men. We have taken her to group training classes and she did amazing with the obedience. We saw a small reduction in anxious body language, such as lip licking, full body shake offs, crouched posture, air biting and yawning. She has significantly reduced her aggression towards our male papillon, went from once a week to once every 3 months and fights are only over food. We have also started working with a behaviorist to work in her aggression (just one session). She was doing well and we were seeing slow improvement before COVID hit and we had to work from home so there was a change in routine. In mid April we had a fight between the dogs. I saw Layla jump up to attack my male papillon so I put my had up to block her. She bit Into my hand and shock. She left a gash on the top of my had that required two stitches. This incident is what lead us to a behaviorist as well as medication evaluation. She had a full vet check and everything came back normal. She was prescribed Prozac to help with the aggression. Previous to the bite that I received that required stitches she would snap at us and regularly show her teeth but didn’t try to bit hard and make contact. After the stitches incident she has bite me twice breaking the skin and my wife twice breaking the skin. 4 bites from April to July. It seems she is not attacking the other dog but attacking me now. I’m so worried that she’s not going to get better. I love her and don’t want to give her up. I also worry about her becoming a liability. I think I just need some hope in my life that there is a high probability that this can get better. I’m beginning to become afraid of my 15lbs little dog.
I am so sorry to hear about your issues with Layla. The changes in routine due to this virus have been stressful for everyone, our pets included. But the first thing that needs to happen is for you to ensure everyone’s safety—including YOURS. 4 bites in such a short period is a major red flag.
Layla need to be seen by a vet ASAP. And she may need to be muzzled for that visit. You may not have time to slowly get her used to one, so I’d suggest going with one of the strap type that completely close the mouth for this instance. That way you have the chance to get her properly acclimated to a basket style muzzle later on without having to overcome the initial very negative exposure. There may be a new health condition you are not aware of driving this, or she may need to be medicated for her anxiety for a while to get past this, but either way a trip to the vet has to be your first order of business.
In the meanwhile, keep a light leash with the hand loop cut on her at all times. You need a way to quickly gain control. Separate her into her own area of the home with gates or by closing doors and keep the other dog out of her space. You might try only hand feeding her for meals to re-build the association of “all good things come from my people.” If she is crate trained, make sure she has access to her crate within her area of the house, preferably in a quiet area that gets little traffic. Ideally, cover the crate. If she’s not crate trained you may want to offer one anyway because the den instinct is very strong and having a safe place to retreat from her stressors is important.
Find a positive reinforcement trainer in your area and ask if they are willing to work with a human aggressive dog with a history of biting. Also, look up Ian Dunbar’s Bite Scale and be VERY honest about where your dog falls on that scale. Trainers have every right to exercise caution about their own safety, too!
I wish you good luck. I am just starting with a new rescue that had a similar history to yours, but he is 70 pounds and the margin of error is a lot narrower. Right now he is still decompressing, but my gut tells me the rescue seriously downplayed the magnitude of his problems so this may be a very long and exhausting road here, too. I will ask Saint Francis to watch over your Layla.AuthorPostsViewing 2 posts - 1 through 2 (of 2 total)
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