My name is Heather (female). Rusty was given to me when he was 2 from a family with 5 small children. He is neutered. When I asked why they were giving him up, they said he's just too big to be around the babies. I suspected they were not being totally honest. They said he had never bitten anyone and did not know if he was good with other dogs/cats. On the way home, I stopped at a pet store with him and he lunged for any dog he came near, although he is very friendly to people.
I took him to the Perfect Pet Resort in Lothian, MD where we went through private training lesson with a behaviorist to correct is dog aggression. The trainer said it was leash aggression, since he appeared to be fine outside, off leash with other dogs (when he was not around me). When I was with him, he was still aggressive, so the trainer thinks he is just being protective of me. After 6 weeks, I was at least able to control him around other dogs with a pinch collar.
That was the end of any problem for a long time. There was once a very aggressive period when he was stressed due to moving to stay with my mom while I was deployed for a year (He was 3 or 4). When he moved to stay with my mom, he bit a jogger that had jogged on mom's property. The bite was not severe and the jogger did not press charges. He has also bitten my brother when I dropped him off for pushing me.
Whenever we travel to see family, we put him in a kennel. He has always loved kennels and had a great time. Last Christmas, we put him in a kennel that socialized the dogs together and he was attacked by another dog. I don't know how the attack started, because I only found out after I took him home and found the wound on his neck. The kennel denied it ever happened, but the vet was certain. Since then it has been back to square one with the dog aggression.
Now that I have Elena (she is 6 months), I am afraid to take him on a run with us, because he tries to attack every dog he sees and I do not want to put my daughter in the middle of a dog fight. When I brought her home, I let him smell her blankets, and clothes. While I was holding her, I let him smell her and gave him plenty of attention. He was pretty apathetic to her. Now that she is more mobile and louder when she plays, he nips at her or lunges at her for any sudden loud noise or sounds. He is getting restless because we moved to a house with out a fenced in yard and he isn't getting the exercise or attention he needs, and as I'm sure you can imagine, it's only getting worse. I keep him in the garage for about 5 hours per day so Elena can play without me worrying if he is going to hurt her, but he has started pooping and peeing in the garage and just generally acting out.
My fear of him hurting my daughter is driving our decision to rehome him. We don't want to keep him, because we are very nervous that he will hurt her. At this point, we are just trying to find him a good home with someone that doesn't have other dogs or children. We are trying to avoid having him put down or taking to to a shelter that will put him down, but I don't know what else to do. We have had a classified ad on petclassifieds.us
I would start teaching your dog to stay a certain distance away from the baby. You will leash your dog and if the dog gets within 3 feet of the baby, you will give the dog a short tug on the leash and a firm, low toned NO. Since he hasn't been kept away from the baby, it may take a bit of training before he realizes that he is no longer allowed near the baby. Once he starts stopping the required distance from the baby, start rewarding him with a tasty treat like a thin hot dog slice. At this point you will see him stopping long before he gets to the baby. It is important that you reward this behavior with both treats and praise. Once he has it down pat, you can start sometimes just using praise and sometimes treats so he doesn't know if he is getting treats or not.
. After that, you will want to teach him to move if the baby gets within 3 feet of him. So you will move the baby into his space and then using the leash move him away from the baby the required distance and give a treat. Since he already know he isn't supposed to be close to the baby, it may only take a couple of times before he sees that he needs to get up and move if the baby enters his space. Since treats are involved, they usually learn quickly. Again, treat for desired behavior. This is important because when the baby starts walking everywhere, the dog needs to move out of his way.
. Most of the dogs that I have trained have learned within a few weeks but the owners worked with the dogs daily and were very consistent. Once your baby is around 3 years of age, then the baby should be able to say sit and down with a little conviction. At this point, you will start the baby giving the dog known commands to teach the dog that he has to obey the child as well.
There are some new training methods being used now as well. Read about them here:
I do hope that you take the time to try some of my suggestion if at all possible while staying safe with the basket muzzle. If it just doesn't work, hopefully you can be looking for a new owner or no kill shelter who can work with him while you are training so he is more adoptable and safer for another owner. If all else fails, at least you tried your best to retrain and give him some time with his family.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .