Opinion On Biting

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by collie23, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. collie23 Well-Known Member

    I’ll bare you the boring details but I’ve met a new lady with a Shitzoo (Biff) a couple of times now. He seems friendly, a little yapping but is happy to greet me and get a scratch on the head even though I’m technically a stranger. He’s only met me 2/3 times for short amount of time. Yesterday I bought food round. He was interested but generally good, had a sniff but didn’t disturb the bag.
    Anyway the dog was led on the sofa near the food, where we wanted to sit and eat. When we tried to coax him off he didn’t move, just stared around blankly. I eventually went to nudge him on the shoulder to get him to move and he bit me. It didn’t break the skin but it hurt. It was a bit of a shock as I barely touched him (in fact I think he may of snapped even if I just petted him)
    I just wanted opinions what you would do in this situation or similar? My friend (who knows the dog a little better) said no and then started scratching him on the head, which to me is reinforcing the behaviour..? I didn’t feel that I could do anything about it, because he wasn’t my dog and I really don’t know enough about the best way to handle the situation?

  2. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Bring over some treats and teach him an on/off cue. Very easy to teach! And training is a good way to establish a relationship with the dog, so that he gets to know you as a reasonable and reliable person to interact with.

    You can also work on a down/stay during mealtimes. This is a very useful behavior for any dog to learn.
  3. collie23 Well-Known Member

    That's good advice when it's your own dog, but I don't feel I know the woman well enough to ask if I can do this. She's the land lady of my boy friends new apartment so I'll only see them for like 15 minutes 3 times a week (if that).
  4. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    If you can't do anything and rarely see the dog, I'm not sure what your question is then-? In the case you describe, I'd just not touch the dog again. Ask her to move him if he's bothering you.
  5. Pawbla Experienced Member

    I'd suggest her training but, to be frank, in this situations I just avoid the dog and the topic completely. Yes, she is reinforcing the behaviour, and probably, she doesn't want to hear about training. But I'd tell your boyfriend to suggest it.
  6. collie23 Well-Known Member

    I suppose my question is what do i do if it happens again? not neccessarily with just this dog but with any. Although it wouldn't be to difficult i don't really want to have to ignore him (honestly dont know whether i even could) but if he snaps again do I ignore it and move away or do i distract and reward with a toy or what?
  7. Pawtential Unleashed Experienced Member

    Shih Tzu's are a bit like Chihuahua's when it comes to "protecting" their families or getting bossy. It sounds like he was fixated and you either startled him (if there was no warning) or he was resource guarding.

    She may be open to a discussion about training, but if not, then the best thing to do is as A&C said ask her to move the dog or ask if you can work with him to teach him On/Off - who knows maybe she would like some free training?
  8. Pawbla Experienced Member

    Ignore him, but avoid nudging or picking up dogs you barely know. It's better to lure him down with food or a toy, saying "off" and reward, if possible.

    Also be aware of your body language when you sit, show him your back, don't lean on him.
  9. jackienmutts Honored Member

    So much could have been going on that you missed - could his "staring around blankly" have possibly been his way of avoiding you? And could it have possibly involved a slight lip raise that you missed? A whisker twitch you missed? Some ever so subtle sign? Not saying the human eye would have seen it *(except in slow motion, watching a video afterwards, when we have time to watch again and again, then say ahhh, right there!) but another dog might have, as they communicate subtleties to each other constantly, and are in the habit of reading them as well. The dog may have felt he did communicate to you and was ignored - so BAM! Not saying you deserved to be bitten, only saying it wasn't necessarily without warning ... only without a warning you saw. If she's someone who is unopen to discussions re: training (a good "off" would be in order), then I'd leave lots of space between you and the dog. He very well could have been guarding the food, his family, his couch, or ?? Frankly, I'd avoid interaction with this dog unless he came deliberately seeking it. Perhaps he prefers just being left alone.
    Pawbla likes this.
  10. collie23 Well-Known Member

    That's true. I hadn't thought of that. My friend was 'bugging' him to get off the couch so maybe he was already wound up when I went in for the nudge. So frustrating having eyes that don't pick up every slight movement and not being able to sense as much as a dog.

    I must get some treats sorted out so it will be easier and hopefully less painful next time, even if she doesn't agree to him being trained a couple of small bits of chicken wont do any harm.

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