Roommates dog is a biter

LBLB Registered User regular
edited August 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
My roommate has a one-year old Pekingese who is usually a very sweet dog, but she gets really agitated when she has something in her mouth and someone tries to take it away. For example, she loves tissues and underwear (usually of the used variety) and will knock over garbage cans/laundry baskets to get to the stuff. Then she takes it and hides under a bed where no one can get to her. If you try to take the item away, she bites pretty viciously. Now, she's a small dog so her worst bites bruise a little bit and might break the skin, leaving a tiny cut, but in my opinion, the size of the bite is irrelevant; the dog should not be biting. I also realize that one solution is to keep garbage cans up high or behind closed doors, but this to me also seems to be avoiding the issue, which is that even if she does get into that stuff, she should not be biting when someone tries to take it away.

I have had a few dogs, but they never really misbehaved, even as puppies. What I've been doing when this problem occurs is grabbing her and putting her on her back until she breaks eye contact, then taking the item. Sometimes she lets it go, sometimes she bites when my hand approaches her mouth. She never drops the item by herself, even if I wait for 5 minutes. I try to stay calm and keep my voice level, while strongly saying "no" and "no biting." I also put her into the kitchen (which has a little fence-like thing so she can't get out) for at least 10-30 minutes each time she bites. I never hit her (one of our friends smacks her in the face when she bites, but I don't really think that's a solution either). Unfortunately, this does not seem to be doing the trick. She bites me at least once a day. She does not often play bite; it's almost always in anger. I also try to avoid playing games with her where she wins (such as tug of war) -- at most I'll play fetch or just run around with her.

She doesn't only bite me. My roommate has said that her family refuses to even attempt discipline with this dog, and all of our friends are scared to dog-sit. I'm the only one who continues to challenge her. I don't want to stop that, because I feel like then the dog will continue to be disobedient and troublesome with me, even if she obeys my roommate. The fact is that my roommate is not always home and sometimes I will have to pull the dog out from under the couch or my bed, and take stuff away from her. I also think that once I have gone to take something away from the dog, I cannot back down or she will think she's the boss and will stop respecting me (not that she respects me now...).

My roommate says that she will look for an obedience trainer but in the meantime, I would like to avoid the daily biting. Any tips on how to avoid getting bitten/stop the dog from biting?

tl;dr: One-year old Pekingese who belongs to my roommate bites me when I try to take stuff away from her. How do I make her stop biting, and how do I avoid the bites if I can't make her stop but still need to get ahold of her?

LB on

Posts

  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    What you are doing is called alpha rolling. It will make the situation worse.

    Honestly you are rewarding her if you notice that she has the stuff. If it wont kill her let her have it until she leaves it on her own (hours later if need be). Getting the laundry and trash out of the way *for now* is management. You are right that it isn't a solution, but it is a useful tool so that she can't practice the bad behavior while you are teaching her new ones.

    You also need to work on teaching a "drop it" cue. I need to run but I can post a detailed protocol for how to teach this later.

    For now you might find this protocol useful for teaching leadership without using outdated dominance techniques: http://www.dragonflyllama.com/%20DOGS/Writing/LTD.html

    Kistra on
    Animal Crossing: City Folk Lissa in Filmore 3179-9580-0076
  • THEPAIN73THEPAIN73 Shiny. Real shiny.Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I think the dog is looking for some dominance in the home. Watch some old dog whisperer episodes I guess and learn from those.

    Make the taking the item away process not a play time, but rather a "I mean business" thing.

    THEPAIN73 on
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  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    LB wrote: »
    My roommate has a one-year old Pekingese who is usually a very sweet dog, but she gets really agitated when she has something in her mouth and someone tries to take it away. For example, she loves tissues and underwear (usually of the used variety) and will knock over garbage cans/laundry baskets to get to the stuff. Then she takes it and hides under a bed where no one can get to her. If you try to take the item away, she bites pretty viciously. Now, she's a small dog so her worst bites bruise a little bit and might break the skin, leaving a tiny cut, but in my opinion, the size of the bite is irrelevant; the dog should not be biting. I also realize that one solution is to keep garbage cans up high or behind closed doors, but this to me also seems to be avoiding the issue, which is that even if she does get into that stuff, she should not be biting when someone tries to take it away.

    I have had a few dogs, but they never really misbehaved, even as puppies. What I've been doing when this problem occurs is grabbing her and putting her on her back until she breaks eye contact, then taking the item. Sometimes she lets it go, sometimes she bites when my hand approaches her mouth. She never drops the item by herself, even if I wait for 5 minutes. I try to stay calm and keep my voice level, while strongly saying "no" and "no biting." I also put her into the kitchen (which has a little fence-like thing so she can't get out) for at least 10-30 minutes each time she bites. I never hit her (one of our friends smacks her in the face when she bites, but I don't really think that's a solution either). Unfortunately, this does not seem to be doing the trick. She bites me at least once a day. She does not often play bite; it's almost always in anger. I also try to avoid playing games with her where she wins (such as tug of war) -- at most I'll play fetch or just run around with her.

    She doesn't only bite me. My roommate has said that her family refuses to even attempt discipline with this dog, and all of our friends are scared to dog-sit. I'm the only one who continues to challenge her. I don't want to stop that, because I feel like then the dog will continue to be disobedient and troublesome with me, even if she obeys my roommate. The fact is that my roommate is not always home and sometimes I will have to pull the dog out from under the couch or my bed, and take stuff away from her. I also think that once I have gone to take something away from the dog, I cannot back down or she will think she's the boss and will stop respecting me (not that she respects me now...).

    My roommate says that she will look for an obedience trainer but in the meantime, I would like to avoid the daily biting. Any tips on how to avoid getting bitten/stop the dog from biting?

    tl;dr: One-year old Pekingese who belongs to my roommate bites me when I try to take stuff away from her. How do I make her stop biting, and how do I avoid the bites if I can't make her stop but still need to get ahold of her?

    I'd say at least part of the problem is that you seem to be the only one disciplining her. Dogs, especially small dogs, sometimes have a real hard time learning anything unless all the people around consistently enforce it.

    As for the biting thing, I had a bit of this problem with one of my old roommates Chihuahua. Eventually I got real good about getting my hand around her neck before she could bite me, held her like that until she stopped trying to get her head around to bite me (so she was just trying to wiggle free of my grip) and then release her, and then she would just move away. Eventually she stopped trying to bite (me) altogether.

    Ruckus on
    Raneados wrote: »
    so what SPECIFICALLY is the problem with my hole?
  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I'd suggest taking the dog out longer, I'm thinking a lot of it now is puppy energy that's being misdirected.

    Whenever she bites you shout 'ouch' or something real loud, maybe also high pitched. Then ignore her for a bit. She should make the connection soon.

    Malkor on
    14271f3c-c765-4e74-92b1-49d7612675f2.jpg
  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Malkor wrote: »
    I'd suggest taking the dog out longer, I'm thinking a lot of it now is puppy energy that's being misdirected.

    Whenever she bites you shout 'ouch' or something real loud, maybe also high pitched. Then ignore her for a bit. She should make the connection soon.

    That works extremely well in young puppies as it is how they teach each other. At a year old this dog is past that point in it's lifetime and it doesn't sound like it is biting out of ignorance that it is hurting the people. This dog is biting to try and keep it's treasure. The good news is that the dog does have some bite inhibition b/c even small dogs can break skin if they want to. Unfortunately every time she tries to bite you and it doesn't work you risk her escalating the situation by biting harder next time.

    Also for this sort of issue, if you want to watch something on TV, Victoria Stillwell's "It's me or the dog" will be more helpful.

    Two things the OP needs to teach this dog (preferably it would be the owner and not the OP but it doesn't sound like that is in the cards...):

    1) Leave it

    -start with some kibble in your hand and put it near the dogs face (wear a thick glove if you need to)
    -make a fist to cover the food if the dog comes towards it
    -ignore the dog as long as it is licking, pawing, or biting your hand
    -as soon as the dog backs away say "yes" and give her a different treat
    -repeat until she doesn't try to mug your hand but sits there and stares at your hand in stead
    -start saying "leave it" when you present the kibble (once you are 90% sure she won't go for it)
    -start over with a treat on the floor, but cover it with your hand (or a booted foot) and no talking
    -once she doesn't try to take the treat on the floor add the "leave it" back in
    -start over dropping a treat from a few inches off the floor (again back to no talking)
    -once she is reliably "leaving it" when dropped with you standing move on to a higher value treat and start using the "leave it" cue in real life but only when you have a treat to reward her
    -once she has been doing "leave it" in real life for a couple of months start substituting in other types of rewards like throwing a ball for fetch or jogging for a few steps if you are outside
    -you can use this to ask her to leave underwear or tissues alone once they are out of her mouth

    2) Drop it

    There are several different ways to teach this. If she likes playing fetch the easiest way to teach it is to have two balls (or whatever you are playing fetch with) and you throw one for her to fetch and bring back. Then you wait until she drops the first one to throw the second one. If she likes fetch she will start dropping the first one as soon as she gets back to you. Once you are 90% sure you can predict that she will drop the first one you add in the cue "drop it". This will build a large reward history for the drop it cue pretty quickly.

    At the same time work on a more formal "drop it" by getting her to take something in her mouth and then offering her something really tasty. Pick up the thing she dropped and give her the tasty thing and then give her back then thing she dropped. Practice asking her to drop her chew toys and then add on a dab of peanut butter and give it back.

    You want to give back the exact item you ask her to drop 90% of the time (in a better form if possible) so that she is really eager to spit stuff out at you. When you do need to ask her to drop something that you can't give back (like underwear, or trash, or chocolates) still reward her somehow for giving stuff to you.

    And lastly, a better explanation of management: Every time this dog steals a pair of underwear or a tissue it is being rewarded and the behavior of stealing is getting stronger. Eliminating the possibility of practicing the stealing behavior will not cure it. But it will make it so the dog isn't constantly getting better at it. It will take you at least a week or two and more likely a month or two to get a really good leave it and drop it. Once you have those it should be easy to get tissues and underwear away from this dog without getting bitten and you can go back to having your trash and laundry anywhere that is convenient. Also the dog will learn fastest if you do several really short (1-2 minute) sessions every day. Commercial breaks are really good for dog training b/c they will keep your sessions short.

    tldr: teach the dog to give you stuff voluntarily or stop trying to take stuff away from her, both will keep you from getting bitten.

    Kistra on
    Animal Crossing: City Folk Lissa in Filmore 3179-9580-0076
  • delphinusdelphinus Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    OO OOO OOO
    Kistra
    ive got a question

    my cousins have a dog lasa apsa
    everytime i come into their house it barks like EFFING crazy.
    and bites as well. and they dont damage, but theyre really vicious in behavior.
    how can i control this dog?

    delphinus on
  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Your roomie's dog is a resource guarder. It's trying to guard what it deems valuable (tissues and undies, for some reason.)

    First off, you are correct in that this is COMPLETELY unacceptable behavior. Just because the dog is small does not make this all right.

    Second, the way to train this out of the dog is to establish that you are to be respected and also to make it clear that losing a tissue is not the end of the world so that the dog doesn't feel it has to guard them.

    Google NILF ("nothing in life is free") training, get your roomie on board, and make that dog WORK for everything it values. It wants to go out? Not until it sits. It wants dinner? Not until it lays down. It wants attention? Not until YOU feel like giving it attention.

    Next, make every effort to keep underwear and tissues out of this dog's reach. Then start training sessions where you teach the dog how to "trade." The idea behind trading is that the dog starts out with something "meh" and then you trade something better to it. The dog then starts associating humans taking away its stuff with GOOD things . . . "Okay, the human took that stick, but they gave me a spoon with PEANUT BUTTER on the end." Google around, you will find out how to do this. Do NOT jump right in with tissues and undies--those are the items the dog values the most. Start with something not-that-great and work your way up to trading for the better stuff.

    Don't alpha roll the dog, that's a great way to get bitten some more and convince the dog that it definitely needs to defend itself against you.

    LadyM on
  • elfdudeelfdude Registered User
    edited August 2009
    You can successfully take items from dogs by moving yourself towards it. Ideally if you can step on it with your toe and inch your body towards her (with shoes) the dog will understand and let you have it. Expect some resistance the first few times you do it and if you're worried about bites get some boots or something the dog can't bite through (tennis rackets as a shield work pretty well). This is the most immediate solution to your problem. After a few times she should simply give up. Ideally you want to control the situation you attempt this in so give her the opportunity to do something you don't approve of then employ it.

    After you successfully take the item from the dog several times (be sure that it can't get it back) the dog will start to surrender items to you.

    Delphinus the dog thinks it's protecting something. You can either force the dog to surrender and back down by ignoring it and not backing down when it attacks. Since it's not biting down as hard as it can I would assume it's attempting to warn you and I'm betting you back off when it does this thus it is accomplishing it's goal. Dogs are pretty smart and when they realize they can't do something by being gruff and angry about it then the cute cuddly method is their fall back and everyone wants their dog to be cute and cuddly.

    elfdude on
    Every man is wise when attacked by a mad dog; fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion.
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    It sounds like the dog is currently just toy aggressive which is fixable but if it starts becoming food and space aggressive you have a problem.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • Battle JesusBattle Jesus Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    You will need to get your roommate on board if you want your corrections to have any chance of success. Consistency is THE most important part of training or correcting a dog. The corrections need to be applied every. single. time. the dog does something wrong, otherwise things just aren't going to work.

    Basically - talk with a trainer, figure out what you're going to do to correct the behavior, get your roommate on board, and be consistent with the discipline. Don't let the dog get away with it at all.

    Battle Jesus on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    delphinus wrote: »
    OO OOO OOO
    Kistra
    ive got a question

    my cousins have a dog lasa apsa
    everytime i come into their house it barks like EFFING crazy.
    and bites as well. and they dont damage, but theyre really vicious in behavior.
    how can i control this dog?

    How often are you there?

    Honestly your cousins most likely need to do the work unless you are going over every couple of days. The easiest way to fix this problem is to teach the dog to go into its crate when somebody comes to the door. If you want something more specific it depends on why the dog is doing it.

    Is the dog overaroused by the presence of a new person? (this dog will usually be jumping and running around and biting clothing as a form of stress release and can be very friendly once it calms down)

    Is the dog scared of you? (this dog will usually be standing in a far corner or behind some furniture or behind your cousins and barking at you and biting your heels when you turn to face away from it and likely takes a really long time to warm up to you if it ever does)

    Is the dog territorial and not want anyone it doesn't know in it's home? (this dog will be trying to place itself between you and your cousins and barking and biting when you come forward and it may or may not warm up to you and may try to keep you in the room you are in, this is the most likely as Lhasa apsos were bred to be sentinel dogs)

    Kistra on
    Animal Crossing: City Folk Lissa in Filmore 3179-9580-0076
  • illigillig Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Kistra wrote: »
    lots of good stuff

    thank you for posting actual useful advice instead of the idiotic dominance BS that was starting to take over this thread <3

    illig on
  • delphinusdelphinus Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Kistra wrote: »
    delphinus wrote: »
    OO OOO OOO
    Kistra
    ive got a question

    my cousins have a dog lasa apsa
    everytime i come into their house it barks like EFFING crazy.
    and bites as well. and they dont damage, but theyre really vicious in behavior.
    how can i control this dog?

    How often are you there?

    Honestly your cousins most likely need to do the work unless you are going over every couple of days. The easiest way to fix this problem is to teach the dog to go into its crate when somebody comes to the door. If you want something more specific it depends on why the dog is doing it.

    Is the dog overaroused by the presence of a new person? (this dog will usually be jumping and running around and biting clothing as a form of stress release and can be very friendly once it calms down)

    Is the dog scared of you? (this dog will usually be standing in a far corner or behind some furniture or behind your cousins and barking at you and biting your heels when you turn to face away from it and likely takes a really long time to warm up to you if it ever does)

    Is the dog territorial and not want anyone it doesn't know in it's home? (this dog will be trying to place itself between you and your cousins and barking and biting when you come forward and it may or may not warm up to you and may try to keep you in the room you are in
    , this is the most likely as Lhasa apsos were bred to be sentinel dogs)

    it barks at anything that makes noise outside the house, the front gate squeeking, the front door turning.
    anything. i tried some of those websites to "walk passed him" and such. im not there often. thats the problem.

    is there any way to deprogram that instinct?
    (ive redded for things that dont happen.)

    delphinus on
  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Unfortunately that sort of thing takes a lot of work and it just isn't something you are going to be able to fix on your own. Your cousins would need to work to teach the dog a different base response to "stuff" happening.

    If they are willing to do so, here is a protocol from Dr. Karen Overall that explains the process in detail: http://www.dogscouts.org/Protocol_for_relaxation.html

    Kistra on
    Animal Crossing: City Folk Lissa in Filmore 3179-9580-0076
  • LBLB Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    So my roommate and I have been working on the "leave it" and "drop it" stuff, and I will no longer do the rolling. So far we haven't had any problems -- the dog hasn't managed to get ahold of any of the things she gets territorial about, and she's learning very quickly.

    Another question, though -- although she has been around some other dogs (I believe my roommate's parents have some dogs, and they were all living together this summer), she still seems pretty skittish around other dogs. Another friend of ours, who is also a neighbor, has a new puppy (like...maybe 3 months old) that we have offered to take care of occasionally if necessary. I don't want this dog to hurt the puppy, so is there any behavior I should watch out for when they are together? We introduced them for the first time today, and the puppy definitely wanted to play, but my roommate's dog was pretty freaked out. My roommate also wants them to be able to spend time together so that her dog doesn't grow up to be some unsocialized monster.

    LB on
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Not all dogs like all other dogs. My dog does not mind other dogs but does not play and will bite if one tries jumping on her. So we didn't bring around dogs that we knew were hyper and would upset her. Socializing dogs needs to be done in a highly supervised visit and doing it with a super hyper puppy as the other dog is a bad idea. Socializing dogs with other animals vs people is entirely different as well.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • linebilly31linebilly31 Registered User
    Speaking of roommates dogs biting, my roommate got a dog yesterday that was rescued from a bad home where it was beaten and torchered by a man. Naturally the dog hates men and bit me twice yesterday. I told my roommate that if it bit me even one more time that I would kill it. Well it but me again tonight and it seems like each time it bites it gets worse and worse. I wasn't taunting the dog in any way, shape or form. I was minding my buisiness and keeping to myself and it bit me. Unfortunately I'm not too sure but I don't think that it's completely legal to kill a dog for biting anymore. But I texted her and told her that tomorrow she's either got to get rid of the dog or I'll call the police and let them deal with the biting thing.
    Good luck with your roommates biting dog.

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