Seeking advice from knowledgeable dog owners

JLeighsJLeighs Posts: 904Registered Users Curl Novice
I know that some of you here are excellent with dogs and understanding and correcting bad dog behavior, so I thought I'd ask for some advice. My husband and I adopted a 10 mo. Redbone/Pointer mix last Thursday. On several occasions, she has snarled at me when I forcibly remove her from furniture. Last night, when attempting to get her off my bed, she bit me twice. Hard enough to draw blood. She hasn't shown any signs of aggression in other situations --just when I try to remove her from a bed/furniture. I've been able to take things she's chewing away from her without any aggression at all.

Some background information on her: she was turned in by her owners because they couldn't handle her energy. Other than being housebroken, they didn't work with her at all. She doesn't even know the most basic commands: sit, stay, etc. They allowed her to sleep in the bed with them and be all over the furniture.

My question is: is there a good chance that we can train this out of her, or is this a case of "once they bite, they will probably continue to bite"? If the only way to train her out of this means a long, expensive course of formal training, we won't be able to afford that. My husband is seriously considering returning her to the humane society if this is something we will have a difficult time correcting because there are lots of little kids in our extended families. He's pretty upset about this because he's just crazy about Alice. We both love her very much, but are unsure of what, if anything, can be done. Any advice anyone has would be soooo appreciated!
2C/3A, fine, higher porosity.


  • NejNej Posts: 2,444Registered Users
    It could be a dominance/territory issue. She probably thinks she is the pack leader as she's never had any training. Nothing some good training won't fix from my experience but this takes dedication, education and consistency. I'd hate to see her go back to the shelter but if you are commited I dont see why her behavior wouldn't turn around. Dogs don't just train themselves, I'm sure there are lots of options worth looking into and you can find something that will help guide you in the right direction. Even if you sent her away to the fanciest of schools it's not worth anything if you can't be consistent at home.

    Beat of luck!

    Hopefully someone with more breed specific experience can chime in.

    Sent from my iPhone - blame autocorrect for everything strange
  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,632Registered Users
    If this is the only time she shows aggression, try rewarding her when she willingly gives up her place. You also need to work on the basic commands. She sounds very trainable to me.

    Get a crate also and let her know it is her space. Patience and consistency will win her over!

    I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
  • JLeighsJLeighs Posts: 904Registered Users Curl Novice
    We don't want to give up on her. I can't stand the thought of sending her back to the humane society. I just got a bit freaked out when reading all kinds of "once the dog bites put him/her down! They can't be trained!" comments when I did some Google searches for information on this behavior.
    2C/3A, fine, higher porosity.
  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,632Registered Users
    What happens if your husband gets her off the couch? I would tempt her with a special treat that she only gets when she is off the furniture. It' really sounds more like a bad habit rather than an aggression issue.

    I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
  • claudine19claudine19 Posts: 4,486Registered Users
    That "once they bite" stuff is bologna. They're not werewolves.

    This is a territory issue.

    I would find a good, reasonably priced trainer. She can probably be rehabilitated for less than $200. Also, if you're worried about her behavior with kids, crate her when kids are around. I crate one of mine when I have company, not because she's bad, but because she's annoyingly enthusiastic.

    I agree that you'll have to enforce what the trainer teaches.
    Dogs and nature abhor a vacuum.
  • NetGNetG Posts: 8,116Registered Users
    If a dog is gratuitously biting/trying to draw blood that's different from biting as an untrained/natural reaction. For the former I'm never going to try to fix it, but the latter it just depends.

    I think you at least need to work with an obedience trainer, as it sounds as if the dog doesn't see what you're doing as training but rather another dog fighting for dominance. You need to learn how to make sense to a dog who hasn't had training of any sort and doesn't necessarily get that you're the boss. And you need to learn how to do it kindly, with reward, so the dog is happy with it as well.
    The pews never miss a sermon but that doesn't get them one step closer to Heaven.

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  • JLeighsJLeighs Posts: 904Registered Users Curl Novice
    My husband tried to force her off the couch tonight. She bit him and drew blood. I'll look into good (not Petsmart) training classes, but I don't have a good feeling about this. Part of the problem is that I feel nervous around her now when I'm working with her, and I'm quite sure she senses that. Which means I'm not getting the "I'm the boss" idea across.

    Thank you for all the good advice!
    2C/3A, fine, higher porosity.
  • CGNYCCGNYC Posts: 4,937Registered Users
    Don't let her on the furniture in the first place. She needs to learn her place and it's not up where the people are.
  • luvmylocsluvmylocs Posts: 7,578Registered Users
    dogs can sense we're you're nervous or scared. i know this from my own dogs and being nervous when one was being mean towards the other and i got very uncomfortable.

    i know that if dogs "learn" that biting gets them their way (i.e. it gets you off her back and she stays on the furniture) then she'll do it again and again. i agree she thinks she's in charge. i never try to "handle" my fussy dog. if he's seeming like a meanie. i tell him den and give him a treat to get him to walk into his den when i put him in a little time out. i don't know if this is "right" but i've never been bitten by him. i try to control the situation so i never get bitten because that would be very hard for me to handle as an owner. plus i have a young nephew, well he's 6 now and i hope to have kids so i don't want my dog to ever think it's okay to bite anyone no matter what. if you're afraid of her biting again wear heavy duty gloves (assuming she's biting your hands) but i just don't recommend trying to pick up and physically moving an "aggressive" dog.

    i think training is a good idea. i've noticed since walking my dogs (not a leisurely stroll but really humping it) they are much more calm. i didn't think they needed it since they are small dogs but it's helped. plus i also use single word or simple commands..."no", "quiet", "stop jumping", "sit", "stay", "down", "den" and i always use those commands everytime i want to see that behavior. i don't see anything wrong with treats to get the behavior i desire.

    so, about the furniture. i don't like when my dogs jump on the furniture either but it's my fault because i don't consistently make them get off and sometimes when i laze on the sofa i don't care if they get up there with me. that being said, i'm trying to be more consistent and i read/heard that putting foil on the sofa keeps dogs off the sofa, something about the sound, reflection, something. anyway, i tear big pieces of foil and sort of put it in the middle of each of the three cushions on the couch and i observed they don't get on the couch. i assume they don't when i'm gone either because the foil is in exactly the same spot when i come home. you might try big pieces of foil on the furniture you don't want her on in addition to other suggestions to break this habit.

    good luck. i know how stressful dog drama can be!
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  • crimsonshedemoncrimsonshedemon Posts: 2,098Registered Users
    This is all over the place.. I'm exhausted but wanted to respond.
    First of, this dog has just been kicked out of the only home she knew. Did she go to a shelter next? You said adopted so I'm guessing. So that's home 2. Now she's with you, home 3. 2-3 homes in 10 months? Wouldn't you be unsettled, nervous, anxious? She's had no training, no guidance, taught no manners or self-control, etc. Now there are people being "forceful" with her when she's never been taught anything before? Because she reacted, now there's more tension, anxiety, stress. Dog reacted, knows your mad, scared, upset but needs your guidance now.

    LOVE Redbones. My first hound was a redbone coonhound named Cooter (dukes of hazard)
    Redbones are not easy dogs. This dog needs to run daily! Also start obedience class with someone who understands scent hounds. They do not respond like labradors. Hunting dogs need their energy drained. A treadmill is great for this... you can get additional running in without you having to do it.

    Most aggression can be fixed. She needs rules, exercise and patience. This may be a quick fix or it may take some time. Obviously forcing her and grabbing her is causing her to go into "fight or flight" mode so you have to approach her differently. Instead of being forceful, be gentle yet firm and encourage her with treats.

    When I get a new dog, I keep the dog tethered to me at all times unless in a crate. You have no other way to really control the dog otherwise. This only lasts for a couple days cuz dogs learn quickly.

    Keep a leash on the dog at all times so you can control the dog without getting your hands near her mouth. As the dog tries to climb up, simply put your foot on the leash. Then redirect her and reward good, calm behavior.

    If she jumps up, simply grab the leash, say "off" and redirect her attention to something you want and praise. .

    Take deep breaths, be matter of fact. This is a human's fault not the dog's fault. If you are nervous, she will know and take advantage of that fear.

    Also, keep her off the furniture, especially since she's new. Allowing her on the furniture allows her to be at your level. Right now is not the time and place for that. Once she's well behaved, you can invite her up if you want but she should never get up there on her own.
    Same with your bed. That's your place, not the dogs.

    Do not allow her to have free run of the house. If you do, it'll take a lot longer to teach her boundaries because she's getting her way at that moment. She should be a in a crate when you cannot directly supervise her.

    Buy a wire crate and put a comfy bed in it. Also put a bed or blanket in your living room so the dog has somewhere comfortable to lie on. Make the crate a safe, fun place. Guide her in with a treat and say "crate" or whatever 1-2 word combo you want. Give bones in the crate, kongs with peanut butter, etc.. all in the crate. The crate will become a safe zone. At first you may want to put the crate in the living room so the dog isn't alone, she needs to get used to the noise of a house, the hustle and bustle, etc. Over time, move the crate to wherever you want.

    You *must* keep her exercised and entertained until she calms down and learns the rules.

    Some great toys can be found here. Anything you can stuff is good.
    Dog Toys - The Newest and Best Interactive Dog Toys Available From

    While it's hard, do not put your human sympathy on to the dog. She doesn't feel sorry for herself, so don't feel sorry for her. Helping her with the proper training and treatment is the best thing you can do for her. If you overindulge, she'll end up in another home or shelter with the big pink shot.
    ETA: NEVER allow this dog to be alone with any child- EVER. NO dog should ever be alone with a child and a child should never be allowed to put a dog in a situation where the dog could bite. It works both ways. Responsible dog ownership.
  • JLeighsJLeighs Posts: 904Registered Users Curl Novice
    We definitely don't allow her on the furniture or bed, which is why we are having this struggle. Her previous owners allowed her to sleep in bed with them and be on the furniture. I also realize that she's anxious and in yet another new home.

    She gets a LOT of exercise each day because we know she needs it. Thank you for very much for the detailed response. It gives me some clear direction.
    2C/3A, fine, higher porosity.
  • crimsonshedemoncrimsonshedemon Posts: 2,098Registered Users
    JLeighs wrote: »
    We definitely don't allow her on the furniture or bed, which is why we are having this struggle. Her previous owners allowed her to sleep in bed with them and be on the furniture. I also realize that she's anxious and in yet another new home.

    She gets a LOT of exercise each day because we know she needs it. Thank you for very much for the detailed response. It gives me some clear direction.

    It can be difficult breaking habits. Body blocking is another way to prevent her from getting on the couch. Just keep stepping in front, I make a noise and redirect. I can now sit and snap my fingers or make a noise and my dogs know.

    It's critical not to give her the opportunity to bite cuz that just causes a vicious circle. Keeping a leash on her is the easiest and you won't need to do it long. I just tie the leash to me so the dog can't get far.. preventing bad habits is so important.

    That's great that you're exercising her. So often exercise is underestimated and it's so critical.
    Make sure a good part of the exercise is structured. She doesn't get to pull on the leash, do what she wants, etc. Part of a structured walk is teach self control and discipline... also teaching the dog to look to you for direction.
    I've found this site helpful
    Dog Owner's Guide: Summary Topic List

    Keep up the good work! Hounds are great dogs once you figure out how to work with them. They were bred to be independent and work without humans so that can be challenging but they can make great pets. i have faith that you can do this.