Adopting a Problem Dog Diary
I adopted a problem dog unknowingly by a person who didn't warn me.
Picked up a female Jack Russell Terrier at the parking lot of the commissary on Fort Huachuca in Arizona. The first hint that this was a 'problem' dog is the husband asked if there were any other pets in the house and I said no. I expected a few days of adjustment and accidents until the dog settled down but I was then to learn that there were more than one reason somebody would give a pure bred Parson Jack Russell away.
The second hint that this was a known problem dog was when I called the vet's number to transfer ownership, the vet said the previous owner had to do that. The next day the wife refused to transfer ownership to me because there were two previous owners that gave the dog back.
This 10 pound 10 foot minded, 1 and a half year old dog was not house trained. I could be walking the dog for an hour and a half outside and she would not do her business until upon entering my small apartment and the first moment when my attention had drifted away - she would defecate on the rug and then a few minutes later urinate on the kitchen floor. A few weeks prior to getting Molly, I read a book called "Training the Hard to Train Dog" by Peggy Swager because I heard that terriers were hard to train. The author's philosophy is that no corporal punishment should be used and did not cover house training.
I asked a friend - not an expert - about the dog's backwards sequence of events in house training and he said to give it a swat and smoosh the dog's nose into the offensive 'present'. I'm not going to smoosh the nose. I went to the library and loaned out several books on training. I first read 'The Evans Guide for House training Your Dog' by Job Michael Evans. By following his advice I began to get improved results in two days.
Just like as the Dog Whisperer says, you first must establish that the owner is the Alpha. This is done with 3-4 seconds of eye contact, touch the dog's nose with your finger and then to your eyes while standing up so that the dog looks up to you. The best advice that worked like a charm was the use of a crate or confinement of the dog because nobody is able to hover over the dog's every second waiting for the next defecation to occur. I have already had the dog put in the small bathroom and the car without a mess the. So I know she can hold it. I thought the dog was just being willful and was trying to dominate me by using my apartment as a toilet.
In Evans' book the advice of; if the dog is caught in the act or after the fact and it's still wet - then take the dog out to the place you want it to go. Do not stay for more than 3-4 minutes and then come back in and crate the dog for at least a half an hour.. I used a plastic bin covered with a wooden top. When you do release the dog do not praise, treat or play with the dog. Once outside the confined area such as a small bathroom or crate, tether the dog to your waistband (if walking around) or the chair that you are sitting on. Under no circumstance allow the dog to roam free inside the house until completely house trained.
The next important thing is the food you feed, amount and times. I already knew whenever I fed the dog - that she would defecate almost immediately. First thing in the morning, I would put on my outside clothes and shoes on, feed her and walk her outside. Changed from cheap dog food that had lots of fiber to a higher priced dog food that recommended smaller portions per day.
12/29/2011 - 01.04.2012
Most dogs are given away because of the house training but this dog had fought with other dogs before that can be seen from the pink scar marks on her nose. Molly was given away for fighting with other dogs and that's why the owner's husband at Fort Huachuaca asked if I had other dogs. When I called the vet to transfer ownership and update the information on the chip, the hospital told me that the wife refused to transfer ownership because the dog had two previous owners who gave it back. The vet said Molly is up on all her shots until February 2012. I could not get any info about the chip's number or if spayed.
I am pretty sure it's not spayed and hope it is not already pregnant. Perhaps the previous owners wanted to breed her or maybe had hoped that her personality would be her birth control method. Molly would nut up when ever she saw another dog - unless it was behind a fence. I walked past fenced dogs and she was curious but not friendly. There was no way I was able to let her inside the small dog park.
For four days I was in the park and sat closer and closer to the dog park and promenade walkers. On the fourth day I was 5 feet away from the leashed dog walkers - but still had a tight hold on her. Her docked tail would go straight up - which was OK, but would then click her mouth, growl and bark and finally lunge after other dogs.
Went to my neighbor's house who owns a rough coat terrier named Baby Girl. I already knew Baby Girl and when I petted Baby Girl - my dog Molly did not act up. This was the first time Molly didn't go into attack mode with another dog.
The next two days I was able to enter the small dog park and Molly did not attack. In fact another dog started to fight and she not attack back - but didn't go into submissive mode neither. The other dog's owners didn't seem surprised and already had the dog on the leash and pulled and picked her up right away. They put the dog down a little farther away and walked the dog back. In the "Training the Hard to Train Dog", the author Swager said that this is wrong to do to pick up the dog when fighting and train the dog while still with four paws on the ground.
Unfortunately the next day, while outside, Molly attacked Baby Girl until Baby Girl was displaying a total submission posture. Tammy, Baby's Girl's owner said to let my dog go and "let the two sort it out". I do not abide by that advice - I think it's cruel to allow one dog to bully another until the submissive one is so scared that it becomes shy and cower at the sight of the bullying dog. Yes - don't pick them up when they are attacking and train them at ground level - but don't be a spectator to a situation that can out of control.
Neighbors that undo training with bad habits. Tammy refers to her dog as her daughter as if she is human. I don't think treating a canine as if its human is a good idea. My other neighbor went ahead and fed my dog a treat even after I said "Don't feed the dog". Mickey insisted and then broke the treat in half saying that it's only a piece. I asked her to make Molly "work for it". She undid three days of training by teasing the dog to jump up with her hand of food just above the head. I've been training Molly not to 'go for it' and crowd me when I put the food down. I was trying to make her sit and stay until I released her. Next time I guess I'll have to growl and bark at Mickey in order for her to listen to me - and she's human!
My next problem is getting this dog to come to me while outside and off the lease. I tried once and I did it wrong. She wouldn't come when called unless I crinkled the plastic bag of dog treats.So when I tried by crinkling without the dog treat - she never came to me again. The next book I'm going to read is "Controlling Your Dog Away From You", by John J. Romba. And the next two books after that will be "Train Your Dog Like a Pro and "Jack Russel Terriers Today."
Today, the dog bit me. Hard. On the thumb, deep puncture wound and black and blue mark on the nail. I thoughtlessly took a big bone away from her without testing first how Molly would react. Because it wasn't dog food that she gulped down in 3 seconds - I took the bone by my hand while she was chewing.
It hurt bad. Later still upset, I called the former owner. He lied to me. He hesitated before answering my question, "Has the dog ever bit a human before?" He said, "Errr ... not that I recall."
He is full of crap.
I made a hand stick with a latex glove full of dry navy white beans and duct taped it on the end of a plunger stick. Molly is able to sit still for a second while I put the dry food down and then plunged into her 3/4 cup morning helping. Halfway through her gulping I used the hand stick to move the tray of food from her. She bit off the ring finger of the glove and the beans spilled everywhere. I am going to the dog pound today to ask for advice on training and if they have a hand stick that is bite proof. I am not going to train her on my own without expert advice.
I do believe that the husband who gave this dog to me without warning was irresponsible in not telling me about the dog's previous biting history. I think he said "I do not recall." - as his way to weasel out of liability. I cannot give this dog away, the pound cannot give this dog away and from I have read so far if this problem was not nipped in the bud while still a puppy then the only future for this dog is death row.
I wrote to the Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan's Facebook page yesterday but no response so far. This is what I wrote in a message to him.
Had 1.5 year old F Jack Russell since 12.29.2011 -progressed in training not to be aggressive with other dogs and now able to go inside dog park.
I fed the dog, it did its business outside. But when I gave it a big meaty bone to chew on afterwards and removed it while it was chewing - it bit my thumb and drew blood and the fingernail is black and blue.
This dog has had two previous owners who took it back to the owner I got it from. I called the previous owner. I asked him if this dog ever bit a human before. He hesitated in answering and said, " Errrrr .... not that I recall " He is full of crap
Should I put it down? Or tell me how to train properly. I can not find good info elsewhere only excuses that it's CPA or "defended" herself for her food.
I've been noticing a lot of negative feedback.. What is more important? A dog or a human that can't feel safe around a dog? My neighbor brought her dog downstairs and the dog started growling while her dog was more than 5 feet away. I can't have this dog. In the video below, Molly was chewing on this bone for at least 2-3 hours and has taken most of the meat off already. Tell me - do you what this dog around your children? Please don't blame me for being a poor owner or bad trainer. Remember all dog shelters test for food aggression before allowing to be adopted for liability concerns.
According to "Adoptable Dog, Teaching Your Adopted Pet to Obey, Trust and Love You' by John Ross and Barbara McKinney on page 105, "There are times when I recommend that owners give up their aggressive dog that has serious biting problems .... when the owners' safety or the welfare of their children are in question, there may be no other rational choice." In Chapter 16 titled "When the Best Efforts Fail' on page 159, the authors wrote; " ... don't wait months or a year to decide that you have adopted the wrong dog for you. Problems will only get worse over time, not better ... Have the courage to admit that you cannot meet your dog's needs and act quickly to give him a chance to find someone who can."
It's been three months since Molly. I believe that the dog has been returned to the crazy woman who acted like a sociopath towards me. Why do I say that? Because I called the husband and left a message on his phone. She must monitor his phone because she called me and was yelling and screaming at me right off the bat.
I had to shout back over the phone; "Shut Up! SHUT UP! If you want your dog back then you call the dog pound now, right now." and then I hung up on her. While still driving from the dog pound, I received two disturbing text messages that said in part that I was a psycho and "What is wrong with you people?"
I left another message for the husband and said "I do not want her to contact me again." By the time I returned home she called me again still hysterical and I had her on speaker phone so that my friend could her her veiled threats about "I know where you live." and how she didn't call me a bitch - just psycho.
She demanded $50 for what it would cost her to get the dog back from the pound since it had no license. I told her to no longer contact me and she followed through with her threat to defame me on craiglist, warning people that I was a dogknapper and that all I do is take dogs for the sole reason to kill them.
It has been a month since my new dog Chuggers.
Please check out the diary of Chuggers: the first month.
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