Boxer Crazy

Behavior and Training => Problem Behaviors => Topic started by: odeya on April 24, 2012, 12:59:59 PM

Title: I have a problem
Post by: odeya on April 24, 2012, 12:59:59 PM
I don't think I ever really shared it here, but when Oliver came home (2.5 years ago) we had issues with Jack growling, even lunging a little at him. This happened when he would fall (he was 15 months when he came home) on Jack, or get in his space. It's been too long ago for me to remember the exact details.

I took him to a trainer that I've used a lot in the past. We did some one on one stuff with the trainer, but he advised me to keep them totally separated at that time. We didn't actually have custody of Oliver at that time, he was still in the legal custody of our placing agancy, and we were concerned that if Jack bit him, we might lose custody of him.

The trainer also believed that their ages just weren't meshing really well and a lot of it might be outgrown as they both got older.

So that's what we did. Kevin blocked off our laundry room/garage door entry and we kept Jack there whenever Oliver was up. As time went on we let Jack out more and more and things seemed to be going well. For the past year or so, we've only used this area when we leave and at night...like we would a crate.

For some reason in the past 6 months or so, Jack has started growling at Oliver again. He also growled at Kaitlin a couple of months ago while she was playing with him. The poor girl was in tears for 5 minutes because she loves the dogs more than any of the other kids, and she felt terrible. I don't correct for growling since I've always heard that if you take the dog's ability to warn away, they'll bite silently and you will not have a warning. I would just put Jack away.

Last weekend, Kaitlin was petting Jack, Oliver walked up to him and he jumped up at him. I was there but my back was to them. Kaitlin said Jack jumped up to lick Oliver and hit him with his head. Jack doesn't jump up and lick. Freya, yes, Jack rarely licks and never jumps/lunges up and licks. Oliver had a really red cheek, but I decided to give Jack the benefit of the doubt.

Yesterday, the same scenario happened. Kaitlin was with Jack, Oliver walked up with one of his toys (Jack does not have resource guarding issues at all, except with Freya and food), and asked Jack if he wanted it. Again, I was there (the main area of our house is all open), but I didn't see it. Kaitlin said Jack must have been trying to "lick" Oliver again, because he jumped at his face. This time however, Oliver has scrape marks from Jack's teeth under his eye. I know he wasn't licking him.

There were no warning growls in either of the above incidents.

Obviously Jack doesn't agree with me, but I don't think Oliver provoked these...snaps? It is very difficult to have a dog in a house full of children that I don't trust. It may not be the popular opinion here, but I believe a dog who lives with children needs to be tolerant of kids falling on it, or getting in its face, even pulling a tail or ear on occasion (not behavior I allow, but it happens).

Jack is absolutely fine with adults, and my older two, and usually Kaitlin. It just seems to be younger children. There was one occasion when we were in Korea, and my mom let Jack sleep on the bed with her. When she tried to get him off the bed, he growled at her and refused to move. She was afraid of him, and left him there. Our dogs aren't allowed on our furniture, so it has never happened again.

Oliver has never been threatened by any other dog he's been around (and he is around a lot of other dogs) except my sister's mini schnauzer, and she has bitten numerous people, so I don't believe Oliver's behavior is the reason he is getting snapped at. He's a typical, super active 3.5yo boy, but he's fairly well-behaved  ;D.

I don't know what to do. Honestly, I'm overwhelmed most of the time right now, since Kevin lost his other job and is only home on weekends. I do not have hours to spend trying to change Jack. I have enough to deal with trying to raise four kids as a basically single mom. I'm tired, and I don't want to deal with an aggressive dog :(. I love my dogs, but they are not anywhere near equal to my children.

Do I just keep Jack separated from the family for the rest of his life? I can do that, it just doesn't seem like a great life :(.
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: whitepupzoe on April 24, 2012, 01:26:51 PM
Oh geez Keri.... have you tried contacting the trainer that you dealt with before?  I really don't know what to say or what advice to give in this situation.  ???  Jack is ok with the older 2 kids?
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: Missy/Precious mom on April 24, 2012, 03:18:23 PM
I would for sure call the trainer.  The only thing I am seeing in your story is that when George snaps at Oliver, Kaitlin is around.  Do you think they could be hitting at each other or just general sibling behavior that George seems to think Oliver is threatening Kaitlin.  Or that George is having fun with Kaitlin and Oliver is interfering?????
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: whitepupzoe on April 24, 2012, 03:19:36 PM
Joyce I think you mean Jack...not George! LOL  :blush:  ;)
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: Missy/Precious mom on April 24, 2012, 03:20:55 PM
Yes I do, thanks.  Trying to sneak in and replay real fast.  Brain fart saw your reply and just had George on the brain instead of Jack. Thanks
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: WildBeanerz on April 24, 2012, 03:56:56 PM
I was thinking the same as Joyce. I think there is a link between Oliver, Kaitlyn and Jack.

Chloe bit my 13 yr old son on the lip one night. She should not have done it but it was his own fault IMHO. She was laying on her new bed and he kept picking at her and teasing and trying to get on the bed with her. He can be a royal PITA sometimes.  :veryangry: Any way I wasn't in the room but my older son says she growled at him several times and then bit him. I am not proud of it and would never want to think that I have a dog that bites. But my hubby reassured me that we have a son who provoked a bite, not a dog that bit.

I hope that you can figure out what circumstance is causing this with him. I just wanted to share my story with yours so you know you are not alone. Even though I know he provoked it, I keep an extra eye on her in stress situations now like bath time and nail clippings.
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: BoxerPerson on April 24, 2012, 07:51:37 PM
I was thinking the exact same thing as Joyce...I would keep him separate from the kids for a few days to give you time. then I would let him out and ONLY allow Kailin, alone or Oliver alone with him and keep an eye on how he behaves with them  When Kevin is home I would try having the two with him and watch again.

I had a lab that bit my son in the face, and she punctured his face below the eye.  She had just had major surgery the day before becasue she oozed all her innards out of her spay site...she was allergic to the cat gut used and the inside stitches let everything fall out .  Anyway I had a baseball bat and actually thought about killing her, but withing minutes I realized that my son was at fault by jumping on her, she was in pain and reacted the only way she knew...

Something isn't right, but before I rehomed him, I would seriously try to find out WHY he has this dislike (if he does) of Oliver.

And getting the behaviorist/trainer back is a good idea too.
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: Theresa on April 24, 2012, 08:49:01 PM
I don't have any advice Kerri. I am sort of in a similar situation though. Peanut snapped at Evan once when he went for one of he toys and once in she "herded" him into a corner and we tried pulling her away to get him. Since then we've only let them interact when he's in our lap and she approaches him on her terms or if she comes to kiss him through the baby gates

I am starting to try NILF with Evan and Peanut (if I feel the dogs, I hold Evan while putting her bowl down while she sits, if she approaches him while he's in our lap I make her sit etc). Of course all toys are away when they are interacting.
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: Christina on April 24, 2012, 09:10:04 PM
I am not sure, it sounds like Jack may be guarding Kaitlin.   I would definitely keep them separate when you can't watch them. It's hard, but it's better than the alternative. 

Jasmine all of a sudden became aggressive towards children and it escalated to all people.  She was well socialized with children, adults, everything.  Something just went off in her head. Instead of having her euthanized, she just lives in the house, and no visitors.  Anytime someone came over she went into a crate. I tried everything with her, but nothing helped but this situation works. She lives with my ex now.

Jack can still be a part, of the family, just separated when not supervised. A different trainer may be a better option if the last one doesn't have a different solution. 

Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: odeya on April 24, 2012, 09:40:42 PM
Oh geez Keri.... have you tried contacting the trainer that you dealt with before?  I really don't know what to say or what advice to give in this situation.  ???  Jack is ok with the older 2 kids?

I have not contacted my trainer. I will be seeing him tomorrow when I photograph a pit for him that he is fostering. I'll mention it to him then.

Jack is okay with the older two. He has growled a time or two at Caleb when he was younger and Caleb was playing with him, but Caleb can be rough. He wasn't teasing him, just playing rough...wrestling with him, so I put a stop to wrestling. Now that Caleb is bigger, or maybe because I don't allow him to wrestle with Jack, he never growls at him.

Caleb feeds him a lot. Jack has to sit and wait for his food when we feed him, until we release him from the "wait". Just yesterday he dived into his food beofre he was given his release command and Caleb told him to stop and sit, and he obeyed him. Jack has food issues so I was impressed that he stopped. Caleb is bigger than the average 10yo though, and commands a certain amount of respect from Jack, I think, because Caleb works with training him, etc. When I say Jack has food issues I should point out that he has never shown aggression with people and food (however, we feed him in a room alone with the door shut), but he has attacked Freya frequently over food. Often enough that she's very nervous as mealtimes approach. The aggression toward Freya has definitely escalated lately, too.

Hannah (the oldest) rarely interacts with the dogs. She really doesn't like animals and has little interest in them so she's never been in a situation where she annoyed Jack or got in his space. She doesn't even pet them (I know! How can this child be mine ;)!).

I was thinking the same as Joyce. I think there is a link between Oliver, Kaitlyn and Jack.

I'm not saying that link is not a possibility, but none of the other incidents happened when all three were together. I can see how it would appear that Jack is guarding Kate from what I've posted, but she outweighs Oliver by 20lbs or so and they were not fighting or even playing rough, or tearing around; they were interacting quietly.

I had a lab that bit my son in the face, and she punctured his face below the eye.  She had just had major surgery the day before becasue she oozed all her innards out of her spay site...she was allergic to the cat gut used and the inside stitches let everything fall out .  Anyway I had a baseball bat and actually thought about killing her, but withing minutes I realized that my son was at fault by jumping on her, she was in pain and reacted the only way she knew...

Something isn't right, but before I rehomed him, I would seriously try to find out WHY he has this dislike (if he does) of Oliver.

And if Jack was in pain, or was being teased, I could understand. I do not have a problem with a dog defending itself. I totally understand that they basically have only one way to do that...with their teeth, but I do not believe that Oliver is responsible for this. Caleb, older and playing rough, was somewhat responsible for being growled at. Oliver isn't even allowed to play with Jack. Yes, he was trying to give Jack a toy yesterday, but I do not let him play with him.

I can't rehome him. I don't want to rehome him, and who would want a dog that has shown aggression to children anyway.
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: Rubidawg on April 24, 2012, 10:57:21 PM
God Kerry, My heart just aches for you. I wish there was some easy answer, but I do think starting back with a behaviorist is the way to go. Atleast it's a start.

My initial thought is jealousy over Oliver. Jack was there before him and now Oliver is in his space. I wonder if there's a way for Oliver to help Caleb in feedings. Not necessarily taking over (obviously), but perhaps helping Caleb scoop while Caleb puts Jack in a sit/wait (perhaps leash him the first couple of times to make sure he doesn't take off while Oliver puts the food down). Then Oliver puts the food down while Caleb (and you) are there to make sure Jack doesn't make a move? Then get Oliver out of the room and release Jack? I can understand if you don't want to try this, but something in Jack's everyday that someone else is in control of, that Oliver can somehow be a part of so that Jack gains a little respect for him.

Gosh, I really don't know. It's tough because Oliver is so young and I know it's hard to think about keeping Jack seperate all the time - I also don't think that will resolve anything. Is it possible Jack might be hurting somewhere? Sick? Not feeling well?

I would think back to every incident and jot down everything involved. What was Oliver holding in his hands? What was Jack doing? Was he playing with a ball? Are we sure Oliver didn't accidentaly step on Jack's paw as he came over? Little things that you think *might* be a trigger for either one of them and try to see if there is a link somewhere.

But I do wonder if it's a bit of a jealousy issue and if somehow incorporating Oliver into some of Jack's routines might help? I definitely agree NILF, and with Oliver involved (safely) might help....but I have a feeling you really need a trainer to watch and evaluate and spend some time with both of them to figure out what's goingon. Considering Jack has issues with Freya and food.....it does make me wonder if resource guarding is somehow involved - like Oliver might have stepped too close to one of Jack's favorite toys? Something like that. Obviously, not being there everyday, only you know what's going on. I just hate that you and your family are going through this, and I completely sense your frustration. Breaks my heart and I really hope you can sort something out so everyone is happy.
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: WildBeanerz on April 25, 2012, 10:38:03 AM
Dawn has some really good thoughts. I didn't necessarily mean that he was guarding Kaitlyn but that he is jealous of the attention that she switches from him (Jack) to Oliver when he enters the situation.
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: BoxerWB on April 25, 2012, 12:23:39 PM
My first thought is a vet visit.  I know it seems odd since his issue is with specific kids, but perhaps there is something wrong and their presence/habits/behaviors are more disruptive to whatever is wrong.  Xena was always touchy about her bad knee and the behavior came out a lot more with kids than adults, I think because kids tend to move less smoothly, so they seemed more threatening (kid toddling towards you might fall on you, more dangerous than adult walking).

Especially if his general bad behavior (food w/Freya) is escalating recently, I'd think vet's first, trainer second.  It feels like something is "off" in his world, you can start by finding out whether it is his health or his perception of the family dynamics.
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: Boxermom,K on April 25, 2012, 02:48:20 PM
My heart goes out to you- what a terrible situation. I agree with Julia, a trip to the vet to rule out anything that might be going on that you aren't aware of. Then get the trainer involved. Does Oliver have any health issues? I have known a couple of dogs that would snap and show a general dislike of specific people who were ill (kidney/bladder infection). My boy Tripper years ago didn't like children much to begin with but he had a serious dislike of children who had speech impediments or spoke with a strong accent.
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: winterbabies on April 25, 2012, 10:23:02 PM
I'm sorry your going through this, if I had a dog do those sorts of things I don't know what I'd do. My oldest can get rough with ember sometimes, not that it's allowed but it happens. I have seen her 'think' about a bite but then as soon as she does it's  like 'oh no I can't do that' and turns her head and walks away from the situation.  I hope the trainer can give you some insight as to what might be going on.
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: odeya on April 26, 2012, 02:38:50 PM
Thanks everyone, for your thoughts.

Does Oliver have any health issues? I have known a couple of dogs that would snap and show a general dislike of specific people who were ill (kidney/bladder infection). My boy Tripper years ago didn't like children much to begin with but he had a serious dislike of children who had speech impediments or spoke with a strong accent.

Not that I know of. He was born with a kidney issue but that cleared up on its own. He has facial paralysis, but its so slight that even though it involves his mouth it doesn't cause any speech problems.
Title: Re: I have a problem
Post by: Eilene on April 26, 2012, 03:53:15 PM
Sorry I have no other ideas that were not addressed but wanted to wish you the best..