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Thread: Help please aggresive rescue girl

  1. #1
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    Default Help please aggresive rescue girl

    I have a 1.5 year old neutered male cav, Murphy. He is not at all dominant and is a total love we had from a puppy. We had a german sheperd mix that just passed away in January, and our Murphy was awful lonely. We wanted another cavalier because we just love the breed, and we were fortunate enough to find a rescue dog locally.

    We brought Sunset home today. She is almost 3 and is not spayed. Likely from a puppy mill or bad breeder situation. She is a sweetheart with me and my kiddos, but she goes after Murphy in a truly aggessive manner. Now this poor pup has had no training, and we will stick with her.. but she is bigger than Murphy... I haven't been able to leave them in the room alone. I thought she was sleeping, and she crossed the room and lunged at him. She is a sad soul. When corrected, she hides in corners. She will need alot of love and patience.

    Any hints to get past this aggression? Poor Murphy just loves her so too. He isn't in her personal space either, as I think he is sorta frightened of her.

    I appreciate any help!!

  2. #2
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    First off: get her spayed! That should be top of the agenda -- it should help behaviour to some degree. Most rescues usually spay and neuter before rehoming so if/as this wasn't done I'd set that up right away.

    Also: I'd go back and talk to the rescue for advice as any good rescue should provide full backup when homing a rescue as they do tend to have a few issues.

    I also have information pinned at the top of the breed rescue section here and information posted to my own rescue site, www.ckcsrescue.com, that should give you some good and useful links.

    Now as for this issue: it would not necessarily be unusual for a new rescue to be this defensive at the start, so all introductions should be very carefully made and supervised (and the dogs never left alone together until you are very sure they are friendly) but you will need to be extra cautious if she is going for your dog. Did the rescue tell you how she was around other dogs? Has she been fine with others before going to her new home withe you? If she has been OK, that will be a clue that she should settle.

    Rescues often get extremely defensive of their new people/home and very jealous. She needs to learn that this will not be tolerated -- but dealt with in a kind and calm way. I'd not scold, but give her a time out on her own in another room for 5 minutes or so when she behaves like this. It is useful to have a phrase you will lose consistently to indicate the wrong behaviour -- just something like, "Ooops! You lose!" (likewise a consistent phrase or word for good behaviour like 'Yesss!" is also helpful as she will learn good v bad). I would NOT use corrections on her such as scolding or anything that causes her to go off and hide.

    But you also want to start a program that will help these two dogs get to know each other. Getting them outside the home to do this is much better that keeping them inside where they see people and possessions to defend. Get them out together on several walks a day where they are on neutral territory. You will likely find they very quickly can be walked together with no bother and this will start to translate back to the house.

    If it doesn't, and she remains aggressive, this is really an issue for a professional trainer. I'd look for someone with an APDT qualification as these will be primarily people who use gentle rewards based methods, no correction/punishment methods, which I dislike anyway but can be a catastrophe with rescues.

    You can search for trainers in your area here: http://www.apdt.com/
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Tansy : Mindy Connie Roxy Neasa Gus
    In memory: My beautiful Jaspar Lucy Leo Lily Libby

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    Also have a look at the articles here:

    http://deesdogs.com/behavior.htm

    especially the ones on desensitising from possessive behaviour, dropping the head to defuse reactive behaviour, and stress indicators.

    Dee also recommends these hoodies to calm reactive or scared dogs:

    http://deesdogs.com/documents/Hoody%...%20_2_.doc.pdf

    They are fabric and the dog can see through them though they initially look like hoods that blindfold them -- they just cannot see as much and so are less stressed. She has info on ordering them on her site I think. My friends Tara and Lisa use them with reactive dogs here in Ireland.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Tansy : Mindy Connie Roxy Neasa Gus
    In memory: My beautiful Jaspar Lucy Leo Lily Libby

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    Default thank you

    for the suggestions. I like the time out idea. I will check out the links as well.

    She was good with other dogs at the rescue. I saw it myself when we picked her up.

    We have had them both on leashes in the yard and they are better together outside. The issue started when we brought her in.

    I will have her spayed directly. She needs professional grooming as well.

    I thought of contacting the rescue, but I was afraid they would think I was quitting on her - and we won't do that! I am sure they may have some advice and guidance though.. so I will get in touch with them immediately.

    Thanks again! I had visions of my two cavs snuggling up together. I need to manage my expectations as well... perhaps in time.

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    Oh, if she was fine with other dogs, I am sure she will settle.

    It can be really upsetting to a rescue to be moved and then moved again so they may react with some fear aggression -- probably the case here. Just being calm and consistent -- think of how you'd manage a scared child, firmly but gently -- is the right approach.

    Also don't give her too much attention. I know that is the natural inclination but it can actually stress out a dog even more and also, cause her to expect lots of extra attention and hence, make her more defensive towards your existing dog. Also don't give her ANY special privileges (eg don't tolerate things now you wouldn't tolerate in the future -- begin as you intend to carry on. Changing the ground rules after initially being very relaxed about letting a rescue get away with things is really confusing for them but worse, cements bad habits at the start). I'd just act as if she has always been there -- kind of semi-ignore her and let her find her feet. Be sure to give attention equally to both dogs and maybe a bit extra to your original dog when not in the new dog's vision -- just to reassure him about this new situation. I actually mostly ignore rescue fosters -- you'd be surprised at how reassuring it is for them and how much less stressful to them to not be singled out.

    It may take weeks or months for them to accept each other so just be aware of the need for lots of patience. Also, they may never snuggle and be best friends so consider it a bonus if they do settle in together and become that close (though they almost certainly will!) -- it can be especially hard for puppy farm dogs sometimes as they have not had normal interactions with other dogs before, generally; and all dogs are different -- some are just less inclined to need close contact of that sort. You will still be making a rescue dog very happy though regardless!

    My rescue girl, my third dog, took a long time to want to sleep with the two boys and while she and one of the boys took to each other right away, the other wasn't interested in having her next to him for months -- it was about 7-8 months before they'd all sleep in a dog pile. So it can take a good while. He is still pretty indifferent to her in day to day interactions though they will sleep together now.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Tansy : Mindy Connie Roxy Neasa Gus
    In memory: My beautiful Jaspar Lucy Leo Lily Libby

  6. #6
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    I thought of contacting the rescue, but I was afraid they would think I was quitting on her - and we won't do that
    Don't hesitate to contact rescue. That's what I would want someone to do if I were in that situation. You just need to explain that you are NOT giving up...just need some help. Rescue should be there for you before, during and after placement.
    Last edited by Cathy T; 6th May 2007 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Oops - meant to say you are NOT giving up!
    Cathy
    Loving mom to Jake, Shelby and Micah

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    Can I just say this is exactly the situation we have with our puppy farm ex stud dog, Bradley.

    We have had him nearly 10 months and we decided right at the start that we would never give up on him

    My first mistake was cossetting and cuddling him too much during his first month with us. It was after the first 4 weeks that he got protective of me and his favourite chair.

    He dislikes one of my Cavs, Cailean. If Cailean gets into mischief, Bradley will tell him off. Bradley used to start fights, but has stopped that now. Instead he just grumbles usually. He can be a grumpy dog in general - depends which side of the bed he gets out in the morning

    We give him time out, usually in the crate in the other room. Telling him off makes him scared and I believe this is counter-productive, as I think his aggression is fear-related anyway. It's more of a 'punishment' for him not to get attention.

    I think it's great that you're 100% committed to this dog and that you're not giving up. This is why I didn't contact Bradley's rescue too, but sought answers elsewhere.

    The way I look at it is, at the end of the day, Bradley now has more than he's ever had in his life and he's happy. Ok, he may not ever get over his issues, but I don't think humans would either if they were kept in a puppy farm/mill.

    Even with their issues, these dogs know they have your unconditional love and that's what makes it worthwhile.

    Good luck x

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    I haven't had any experience with rescues, but when we adopted Sonny (intact male) 4 months ago he was a bit snappy at our big gentle Sam the Boxer (neutered). Sonny would get up on a chair & snap at Sam's face as he went by. I must admit it did worry me, and Sonny had come from a good loving home, so it puzzled me a bit. We made sure not to leave the dogs together & unsupervised. When Sonny would do this I'd say a "uh" to him, followed by "good boy Sam" so that Sam would know the "uh" wasn't aimted at him. I'd give Sam a pat so that Sonny would see that his snapping resulted in him getting ignored while Sam got the petting. I made sure to let Sonny see me feeding Scarlett (the alpha), followed by Sam in order to display the pecking order. I honestly don't know if any of this was the right way to handle it, or if that made a difference, but I am please to say that after about 3 days this behaviour stopped & Sam & Sonny now get on really well and Sonny has taken his place in the pack.

    I think in this case Sonny was probably just feeling very insecure in his new home & surrounded by dogs 4 times his size. Hopefully your little girl will settle down too when she realises she has landed in a loving home and with some ready-made play mates.
    Last edited by Caraline; 6th May 2007 at 12:07 PM.
    ~ Sam, Sonny & Beau ~

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    Red face Well

    I contacted the resuce, and they confirmed she was wonderful while in their care. She was even kept with another cav (a male) from a different breeder and did well. They suggested she is just settling in.

    She is also aggressive toward our cats. A bark and chase sort of thing. We live in the country near loads of barns, and we have stray cats living outside as well. She went after those cats too.

    I believe we have a long road ahead! She did do business outside this morning, so that is a plus.

    She is certainly a love with me. We are up by ourselves now, and all is peaceful. I am ignoring her though, because I do think she could become possessive of me. I seem to be her strong favorite already.

    I am going to need to use the crate to housetrain her.. We never used the crate as punishment for Murphy, so it would always be a safe place for him. I think I will need to give her time-outs in a seperate room.

    I also like the suggestion of petting Murph and ignoring her.

    Thanks for all the help! Please feel free to provide any other thoughts, adivce or insights. It is nice just to know we are not alone...

  10. #10
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    Mixing with cats should also be controlled initially (or permanently depending on the dog's inentions!). I've got lots of advice and links for cats and cavaliers here:

    http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=8862

    I nearly got rid of Lily immediately when she came in as a foster as she was so aggressive with my four cats -- I really dd not think she would possibly settle in -- and at the time, she was just a trial foster (she had to lose a lot of weight before she could be spayed and rehomed, which would take several months, and I didn't have any fosters that could take a dog for so long so unusually she ended up with me, my dogs and indoor cats in a small house!).

    But amazingly she learned very fast not to chase the cats -- she got a firm 'no cats!' and sometimes a time out -- but got lots of praise, which she was eager for, when she behaved. ANY time a cat was noticed by her but she didn't react aggressively, no matter how far away she was, she got lots of praise and 'good cats!" and maybe a couple of treats (good to carry some kibble in a pocket all the time and then you can quickly toss a treat). Within a week she was OK and now, she even sleeps with the cats sometimes. She will give a ltitle play chase now and then (and of course any cats not her OWN cats get barked at) but this was a 100% turnaround for one of the worst dogs I've ever had around cats.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Tansy : Mindy Connie Roxy Neasa Gus
    In memory: My beautiful Jaspar Lucy Leo Lily Libby

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