update on cookie and dog trainer

posted 3 months ago in Pets
Post # 2
1468 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2020

Is Cookie medicated? He needs something for his anxiety ASAP.

Post # 4
980 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2020

I can’t remember why Cookie can’t live with your FH’s parents full time. Or can he go back to his original joint owner, your FH’s ex? I would seriously consider rehoming him where he is happier, and the new owners are willing to continue training. The bite crosses the line.

I don’t think the solution is to keep Cookie locked up in a sunless room all the time. That would probably worsten his anxiety and aggression. How is he going to go potty during the day? He is basically going to be in solitary confinement most of the time.

The bite sounds very serious. I hope you are ok. I, personally, would not be able to live with a dog that bit me so badly, unprovoked, and after a positive training session. With another dog in the home, things could escalate. I don’t know how I’d keep my own anxiety levels down to make any further training productive. If you’re willing to try, kudos to you.

It is sad that your FH did not address the underlying issues sooner. He was turning a blind eye for a while and you were the one seeking solutions. He is now creating a bandaid solution by building a “comfortable” prison for Cookie.

I wish you the best. You may want to find a dog based forum where people can give you better answers. 

Post # 5
1757 posts
Buzzing bee

Yeah I also don’t get this. Clearly the answer is that Cookie needs to be with your fiance’s parents full time, where he feels safe, happy, and is well cared for. It makes zero sense to shut him up all day long just for fiance’s own benefit. It would be much better – and safer! – for you to push for sending Cookie to his parents for now and build in some visiting time with Cookie and his parents during the week. 

Post # 6
460 posts
Helper bee

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kaitlyn8298 :  my neighbours had a dog that bit one of them and they kept it in the basement when that person was home. It only made the dog worse and worse. 

You’re hoping to get pregnant later this year, if I’m not mistaken? I personally would not ever trust the dog again and wouldn’t want to be anywhere near it when pregnant. Move it along to his parents- or else I’d wait on TTC.

Post # 7
3420 posts
Sugar bee

I think it would be best for everyone, especially Cookie, if you rehome him.  

Post # 8
3251 posts
Sugar bee

Once a dog crosses the threshold of biting unprovoked it is VERY hard to get it to cross back over that line. This is why dogs that bite are usually put down. They are a liability risk for everyone involved. 

It doesn’t sound like you know WHY Cookie has fear aggression towards you, and that’s the very first thing anyone needs to figure out. WHAT is making him uncomfortable? It can be as simple as the deodorant you wear, or your hair up vs. down. I once trained a dog who was TERRIFIED of cowboy hats. Not baseball hats, nor sun hats, not helmets, not fedoras, specifically cowboy hats. It took over a year of attending every single rodeo within a 100 mile radius to get her comfortable enough to not react at every hat. She never saw a cowboy hat as a puppy, never met a cowboy who wore one, happened to see a guy one time at a gas station that clued me into the fear. Being a dog trainer for service dogs and also specialty protection dogs, this was an important behavior to note. 

Anyway, there is something that’s triggering his fear and you won’t be able to fix anything until you know what that trigger is. A dog taking food from you isn’t as profound as you might think. Most dogs, especially big eaters like labs, will take a treat from anyone if the treat is greater than the perceived risk. It actually does very little to build trust in you. Unless you’re the only source of his every necessity (food, water, bathroom breaks, warmth, love, etc) he knows he can just wait for your fiancé to come home and take care of him. 

Some trainers believe that giving a treat when a dog is exhibiting an unwanted behavior is giving reinforcement to the wrong action. The trainer should be distracting him and making him realize life goes on even with you there and you being closer or you moving, etc and reward his IGNORING you versus his reacting in fear but getting a treat still. Because that treat is enforcing the fear, not that the person giving it to him is safe. It’s always best to get a dog to an indifferent neutral ground, and build from there than to attempt to do positive reinforcement when a dog has no idea what you’re actually doing because his fight/flight response is in overdrive. 

For example, the dog with the cowboy hat fear. First we desensitized to the fact that these scary objects even existed. We walked rodeo after rodeo, not talking to anyone, not getting close to anyone, doing nothing but walking by, over and over and over again. Then we graduated to “Oh, there’s grass to smell.” Then “Look, cow and horse shit is interesting!” Then to “Huh, there’s a guy standing there (with this scary hat!)” Then we sat next to the guy with the scary hat. Then the scary hat man took his hat OFF – he was friendly and she made friends, while keeping a close eye on the scary hat on the table. Then she said hi to guys and gals with the scary hat on! The horror! She was never unaware that the hat existed, but she realized the hat wasn’t something that was going to grow legs and eat her. She was always very focused on where the hat was at all times, but she stopped reacting out of fear and trying to bolt away. She stopped being so anxious about it. A guy with a scary hat walked her around the rodeo grounds without me and she was comfortable enough to smell grass on her way. 

All this to say, it’s not as simple as a cowboy giving the dog a few treats once a week and the fear subsides. I never figured out WHY a cowboy hat was scary but once I was able to isolate it was the HAT and not the guy wearing the hat – as proven by the fact that she was totally normal instantly when he took the hat off – it became a matter of desensitizing her to the object and showing her the object was just that, an object. Not a threat. Not an enemy. Nothing to be feared. 

You have a lot of work ahead of you, and locking the dog in the basement just confirms his fears to him. It’s a deservice to him and is the “easy way out.” 

Post # 9
197 posts
Blushing bee

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MsPlucky :  Thank you for posting your expertise!

Post # 10
9147 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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kaitlyn8298 :  

l do most sincerely hope you don’t go wth the basement bedroom/ dungeon idea, l can imagine few things worse. Rehoming is the only humane solution, you know that. 

Post # 11
2399 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I’m not one to say get rid of the animal lightly, but if we had a dog and it bit me to that degree there’s no way my Darling Husband would allow the dog to continue living with us.

The dog is not only unhappy, but dangerous and needs to be somewhere else.

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