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Thread: Rescue Caviler 5 yrs old need some advice

  1. #1
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    Default Rescue Caviler 5 yrs old need some advice

    So we rescued our caviler Chesney (5yr male) and he is a dream. We had previously owned a female caviler Paisley who sadly passed away 2 years ago at the age of 8.
    Chesney is already housebroken, leash trained, and very loving. He almost immediate became protective of myself and my middle daughter Reagan also 5. We have 3 kids 8,5 and 9 months. Finding another caviler was a dream come true as our first one was amazing with our girls as babies and toddlers.
    Well we are going on week 3 and things are slowly changing. Chesney now tries to get food off the table or take from the kids as they are eating. He was very over weight when we got him weighing 38.5 lbs. we are getting that under control, but when he weighs almost as much as the girls they dont stand a chance. That aside.
    Recently he has started becoming snippy. This morning my oldest was sitting on the sofa he got up and got comfy on her lap. When she needed to get to leave for the bus stop Chesney would not move. She could not move him off her, when she finally really moved he didnt like it and went to bite her. Then tonight as my middle daughter, who is very much is protective of, went to kiss him on the back as he was laying down and wide awake and acknowledged her by looking at her as she went to kiss was fine not altering sounds. When she went to kiss a second time he aggressively went to bite her face. He never touched her but fear was set. He immediately became submissive. Keep in mind my husband was sitting right next to him on the sofa when this happened.
    Is this something that can be corrected with training? I am nervous cause I have had dogs my whole life and never had a dog do something like this.

  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear that you are having behavioral issues with your new boy.

    Couple of suggestions:

    check with the vet to be sure nothing is going on health wise. He went from loving to aggressive in 3 weeks - maybe he is not feeling well?

    contact the rescue group, was he observed with children, prior to being placed with you? I have 3 teenagers and my CKC is great with them, but when we have little ones visit, he is quite shy and stand-offish.

    As a mom of 3, who were close in age, I know how busy life can be. I would be most vigilant about the 9 month old, who is probably in the crawling stage, and it sounds like your rescue may not like being moved/touched at certain times. I would first rule out health issues, and at that point, if you are determined to work this out, seek the advice of a trainer. he has only been with you 3 weeks and I'm sure the girls are loving him to death, so maybe he just needs some time to adjust to all the changes.

    I'm sure others on this forum can offer excellent advice, as can a trainer. He sounds like he has the potential to be a great dog, but as with most rescues, he needs extra understanding and some behavioral work, especially in the first few months.

    wish you luck!

    joan

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    Ok, a lot of things here. First, it is common for rescues to at first be very quiet and self-controlled as they adjust to the stress of a new location, and then a 'real' personality to emerge. Rescues can also be quite stressed.

    BUT... what you are seeing is in my view, very worrying behaviour. The rescue should really have been aware of this type of possible behaviour if they fostered the dog responsibly (?), and should be told of it now -- and should be giving you support and advice. But to be honest this is almost certainly beyond what you can manage in your family situation. This is resource guarding at a serious level at the least, and possibly, a health problem with pain (this should be assessed by a knowledgable vet aware of neurological conditions-- sadly cavaliers are prone to syringomyelia and may become touch-defensive). Any hint that a child could be snapped at and bitten in a fairly benign situation means the dog is really not appropriate to a household with kids, especially very young kids.

    I ran cavalier rescue for a decade and would never home a dog with any possibility of snapping into a home with kids, nor would any responsible rescue wish to risk this -- this would qualify as an adult-home or teen-kid only dog only after professional temperament assessment, and would also need extensive work for some time, with a good positive methods trainer (NOT one who regards this as 'dominance' requiring punishment but that starts from scratch teaching the dog not to resource guard). And it is behaviour that may never be trained away -- most likely it would be a mix of careful management (limiting what you can do with this dog as part of regular family life) and lifetime training and positive reinforcement, given he is quite a mature dog with established behaviour now.

    One note too is that young children should not be left alone with a dog of course. And things that we humans see as affection, most dogs do not. Kissing on the back or to the face is rude and aggressive behaviour in dog language, which a friendly, well-integrated, calm dog will tolerate and even eventually learn to enjoy but really should never be done with a new dog, especially not a rescue of unknown background.

    I have a whole set of great kids and cavaliers resources pinned in the training section.

    You are right to have concerns about your very youngest. Regardless of whether this fellow was showing some fear aggression and resource guarding, kids under around 7-ish should never have open access to a dog and vice versa. Most bites in the US/UK happen to children, to the face, by a dog they know. Cavaliers are as likely to bite as any other dog if startled or accidentally hurt, as often happens in interactions with small kids.

    I'd have a serious talk with the rescue. If you wish to keep this fellow, you will need to make a serious, longterm and concerted commitment to very careful management for many years to come, as well as training work. He may never be trustable around children (he probably will never be given his age). I know it is hard to hear, but in your place, I'd return him to the rescue and wait for a dog that has been fostered to a home with young children and is known to be kid-friendly (and still then of course, the safety rules of managing kids and dogs together always apply. Any dog can bite at any time, with devastating effect for the child and a potential death sentence then for the dog).

    If you want to have a good trainer assess him, I'd work with a CCPDT trainer as they are properly certified and have real, science-based behavioural knowledge and training, unlike most trainers out there who can quickly make a dog like this even more aggressive through punishment and 'demotion' training.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    For a CCPDT professional, you can use this search tool:

    http://www.ccpdt.org/index.php?optio...nts&Itemid=102

    I'm really sorry you are in this situation; I know how heart breaking it can be but this is I truly feel, a disaster waiting to happen for both your children and the dog.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Views from professional trainers -- here, one noting it really can only be adequately addressed in a puppy:

    In my experience, resource guarding is forever. If you don’t continue doing simple exercises to maintain the positive association between people approaching the dog with good stuff and Good Stuff for Dogs, then the behavior tends to return. These maintenance exercises will always be a part of Chaos’ life. His quick response to our efforts so far drives home just how important it is to start training and socializing puppies right from the start. This is a serious problem, but an eminently manageable one right now. Too many owners would let it go on for weeks, months, or even years before seeking help. That’s a disaster. Nobody wants a problem like this, but if you get it the time to identify and address it always right now.
    from http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/pu...ource-guarding

    See: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtua.../food-guarding

    (focus is on food but the aeticle notes these are all resource guarding behaviours):

    However, if children live in a home with a resource-guarding dog, the situation becomes unacceptably risky. Children are more likely to get bitten because they’re less able to recognize a dog’s warning signals and more likely to behave recklessly around the dog. In some cases, the risk of living with a dog who guards resources is too high for adults, too. For example, some dogs guard food on tables and counters, leftover food on dishes in the dishwasher and food dropped on the floor. Because it’s impossible to avoid these situations, it’s impossible to prevent the guarding behavior.
    And:

    http://www.clickertrainusa.com/Webpa...ceguarding.htm

    There are several degrees of possessiveness and guarding. On one hand, it can be rather mild and involve avoiding returning the object and moving it away from the owner, in which case if the owner is persistent enough, the dog will give up the object eventually. On the other hand, the problem can be rather extreme in which every approach towards the dog while he has a valuable possession results in growling, snarling, and biting (some dogs will guard an object even if they are next to it). Between those two extremes there are many other moderate manifestations of the problem. Similarly to separation anxiety, resource guarding is a problem that can be difficult (and dangerous) to solve when it is already a well established behavior, and just like separation anxiety, preventing the problem can be an easy process. It is not in the scope of this book to explain the methods of solving a resource guarding problem that is already established. If resource guarding is already a problem, you should consult a behavior expert. Keep in mind that living with a resource guarder can be rather dangerous, especially when kids are involved.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the help!

    Well rescue said they never had issues they saw and he was there for 2 weeks. I do have the name of the previous owner, as I have his collar that he was brought in with. Would it be bad to call them? He was brought to the rescue when his owner, and elder female, was unable to care for him and his 3 other siblings all CKC. He was the youngest.

    He was seen by a vet a week ago and no issues during visit, and clean bill of health minus a slight ear infection which has been treated. He was moving him all around and was given shots, no reactions.

    After reading some of the things you linked I am wondering if the sofa is what he is guarding. He lays there ALL DAY thats his spot. Even when I go to move him, he looks at me like really...no you can move I was here first. Usually after a few moments of patting the sofa on a new spot he moves over and I always praise him for listening. I do make sure no one bothers him while eating but I feel thats a golden rule with any animal or human...heck you try to take food of my plate I might bite your hand off too. When he is up walking around he does not care if you touch him, cuddle with him when he is in a standing position on rear legs, likes to check on the kids and licks them A LOT almost like he is cleaning them. I dont let him come near the baby unless I am right there since my son freaks out when he starts licking him, the dog loves to lick his toes, legs, hands and face. Again no reactions, however I have never let him do this sitting on the sofa as I dont sit the baby on the sofa only the floor in the playroom.

    Toys - has zero interest in toys I have some for him and a bone non-digestable nothing wont touch it. However leave a paper scrap or paper tissue and its gone. Also noticed fabric he chewed up a small part of a pillow case, that he threw-up shortly after.

  7. #7
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    A rescue should not have given a dog with the contact details of the previous owner -- ! I would not contact her -- it will only worry an elderly person and the problem is what it is. This is a serious issue and if you choose to keep this dog, you will need professional help and very meticulous management. Children cannot have open access to him and you'll need a system of pens he can be put in when kids are around. Most trainers will tell you this is not the right dog for a home with such a range of very young children including a crawling baby. I am really sorry to say that, but it doesn't really matter what he is guarding -- you are seeing aggressive behaviour that involves snapping. Vets also are not generally good at understanding neurological pain. Scratching at ears is actually one potential symptom of SM -- a dog with it could definitely be very sensitive about being touched especially on the back, sides or head.

    I'd try to see a vet yourself with some knowledge of SM and neurological pain, and also get in a CCPDT professional for an assessment. In your shoes there's just no way I'd keep a snapping dog of age 5 -- meaning this is at the potentially dangerous end of ingrained guarding behaviour, if it is not pain related (in which case, you will face medical bills) -- with small children around. I think you need to think of your children first as you are risking a serious bite especially to a baby at face level to a dog. Even to an adult-only home, I'd only place a snapping dog with a home experienced with training issues as it is a real challenge. In the right place he can be worked with and managed but with very young kids, it is just such a risk.

    Either way you need to go back and talk to the rescue as well -- I know I'd have immediately wanted to know of any issues with a cavalier I had placed and would want to be there to support the family and would see it as a top responsibility and priority.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by BMars425 View Post
    Well rescue said they never had issues they saw and he was there for 2 weeks.

    Hhmmmm... he was there for 2 weeks. After 3 weeks in your home his personality changes. They did not have him long enough to assess, in my opinion.

    Your children come first and they are your primary responsibility. I encourage you to NOT feel guilty if you decide to return the dog, or re-home him. This might be the reason the dog was surrendered. The safety of your children come first.

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