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watergirl

Getting to the end of the road

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watergirl

I am getting to the end of the road with Addie. My people feel she is really damaged in some way and since I have had her since 8wks and never abused her, I can't answer that. I have talked to her breeder and none of her puppies have ever been aggressive. I have followed many suggestions in this forum, buying fireplace gloves, shunning her, crating her and nothing seems to help. Unfortunately I have even smacked her when she bites but that just makes her more aggressive. I have had two behaviorists and they said just pick your battles and take her to groomer when she needs care but what happens when I have to do some personal care to her like clean her bottom after some diahrea or undue her collar when she gets stuck on something. She snarls and then goes for the bite. She has bitten me quite badlky several times. 80% of the time she is a sweet dog but after she bites she starts wagging her tail and comming for attention. My children feel I should put her down, what should I do? Please help, I am desperate.

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dog person

Please contact the nearest Cairn Terrier Rescue (just google).    

I am sure they have had experience with problem Cairns, they will work with her, evaluate her and do their best to rehome her.

She should NOT be in a home with children.    

I have an aggressive Cairn too, he doesn't bite me however he has seriously bitten my smaller dog so I am very careful now, separating them with a gate whenever I am not right there.   Oh, and I would never let him near a child.

It's a lot of work but most of the time he is a sweet dog.     I do understand your frustration.

How old is the dog?

Edited by dog person

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dog person

I know how difficult this can be.   Let us know what you decide.   Are you really considering rehoming her?

PS:  Over the years, out of about 8 dogs (various breeds) I have owned,  2 were aggressive and had to be watched carefully.

I actually have a scar or two on my face from a Peke!   When he bit he would go for your face.    

Not everyone is up to dealing with this.    I wish you the best.

Edited by dog person

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watergirl

She is four and only bites when you try to touch her in certainways i.e clean eyes, adjust collar, bathe, dry, or wipe any part of her body. She is such a sweet dog otherwise. She does not bite my groomer but will try to go after anyone else who touches her in those ways. Afterwards she wags her day and is such a happy dog like she doesn't get why you are so mad but if you try to crate her afterward she will bite you.

 

 

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sanford

I sympathize with all you've tried to do with Addie, and know how disappointed you must be. You mentioned talking to Addie's breeder. Many reputable breeders will take the pups back, so perhaps you should ask. If not, then rehoming her would probably be best.

(I'm not judging or criticizing you for smacking Addie, which I'm sure you regret... Only to point out that it seems to be a breed characteristic that harsh punishments, like smacking, often will elevate a cairn's aggression).

I wish you luck in finding a resolution.

 

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Idaho Cairns

I  think dog person's suggestion of contacting a Cairn rescue organization is your best bet in this situation.  Destroying the dog may be the only reasonable solution but I wouldn't make that choice unilaterally, I would get some Cairn knowledgeable folks involved first.
Please do keep us informed--this is a  compelling situation for most of us I suspect.

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Terrier lover

I would definitely Get in touch with her breeder and see what they suggest. A soft muzzle works well if you have to do things that she objects to. Our previous Cairn did not appreciate getting his coat worked on and  when a  soft muzzle was used all forms of trying to snap at me stopped. I agree with Sanford hitting a dog especially a lot of terriers just open up the door for more aggression . 

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dog person

No one wants to hit their dog.    BUT, we are human beings and we react instinctively.    When I catch my dog attacking my smaller dog and I have to break up a fight.   When I am bit and experience pain.   In the heat of the moment It can happen, and of course we feel horrible.

Those muzzles suck.   No dog can tolerate them.  I have a $50 one on a shelf with dust on it.   Okay, maybe a soft one for brief periods, worth a try.

PS: The breeder is long gone, the dog is 4 years old.

 

Edited by dog person

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Terrier lover

I can always depend on total negative feed back from you Dog person!  It’s time you respected other people’s opinion and experiences.

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sanford
27 minutes ago, dog person said:

 Okay, maybe a soft one for brief periods, worth a try.

Exactly!

30 minutes ago, dog person said:

PS: The breeder is long gone, the dog is 4 years old.

So what? There are devoted breeders who have always taken their dogs back, regardless of age. For the sake of the dog, it would be the humane thing to at least ask!

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watergirl

I have talked to her breeder and she has tried to help. I got an older Cairn from her also 4 yrs old when I got her and she was the best dog I ever had. That is why I chose another Cairn. I agree, hitting isn't a solution but it is instinct when you are bit quickly and painfully. I wouldn't rehome her because she is so unpredictable but with everything said she is still my love. She is an adorable and loving dog 85-90 % of the time but if you fall into that unprediuctable 10% being faced with something that has to be done for her which she hates, you will suffer!.

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bradl

Muzzles can be a lifesaver (for the dog; a pain saver for the owner).

If you have a handle on her triggers you may be able arrange life to work around them. It means fundamentally changing your expectations. It is imperative if there are children present as uncontrolled children can easily become a death sentence for any dog that is not bulletproof.  Managing *around* the dog does not work for everyone and the breeder should take her back if so. 

The breeder really should take her back if it comes to that. We took Granger back twice - the second time at almost 7 - and kept him from that point on.

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watergirl

Thank you for all your replies. There are no children present and she is good with kids and even most dogs unless they go after her food. Food is another trigger that can cause a bite. If I touch her bowl while she is eating. A muzzlle is great idea but how do you get close enough to her to put it on.

 

 

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sanford
42 minutes ago, watergirl said:

A muzzle is great idea but how do you get close enough to her to put it on.

Good Question! I had this issue with Carrington and was advised to get him used to seeing the muzzle by always leaving it next to his food bowl and to use sleight-of-hand with high value treats, hopefully distracting him enough to quickly slip it over his head with one hand while offering the treat with the other. A tall order, I know, but we managed this way.

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Hillscreek
6 hours ago, dog person said:

Those muzzles suck.   No dog can tolerate them.  I have a $50 one on a shelf with dust on it.   Okay, maybe a soft one for brief periods, worth a try.

PS: The breeder is long gone, the dog is 4 years old.

Dogperson I think to say no dog can tolerate a muzzle is overstating it but then you say maybe a soft one so hard to know what you think.

Certainly there are fly by night breeders but also there are many who breed for love of their breed and might do this for many years. We did and we took a dog back as brad did. Sometimes however a breeder is not in a position to do this. A long time breeder I know wanted to take a pup back but could not for family illness. She did all she could to find the dog a new suitable home.

With regard to Addie it does sound like there are triggers that set her off. She seems to be fine most of the time. I might think back over her life and ask when did this behavior start? What was happening her and your life at the time? Was someone unduly harsh to her either physically or mentally? We know how sensitive cairns are though they don't often show it. Physically jerking them,being angry and rough with them, often elicits an angry defensive reply in the form of growls and/or bites. For example It's one thing to say no firmly. It's another thing to shout no angrily. Its one thing to tug a leash gently it's another to jerk hard.

I say this because I wondering if the biting then tail wagging might suggest this is fear biting. Plus of course we know a cairn is not a submissive breed - independent and bred to standup for itself in all situations.

Keep us updated if you can. Biting is something I'm sure many of us could use help with. Good luck with Addie.

 

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bradl
4 hours ago, watergirl said:

If I touch her bowl while she is eating.

We've had dogs who were pills about their food bowl. So we stopped using a bowl and fed them by hand, a few kibbles at a time. (I have also hand-fed raw-fed dogs and that's a royal mess :P

Later after they are respectful of  the hand that feeds them, we might put an empty bowl in their crate and then put one kibble in it for them to eat. They get their dinner one or two kibbles at a time. One snap at the hand and the bowl, the person, and the food disappears. Sorry Charlie, better luck next time. Back to hand feeding. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

Dundee became quite noisy about his *empty* bowl so we currently just dump his food and let him eat it off his crate floor. If the bowl was the problem then no bowl. If we were not lazy we would train it out of him but for us it's not worth the time and effort to fix this particular problem when a workable solution is easily available. 

I once saw a program that included a tour of a working hound kennel. Those dogs were fed by tossing a bucket of kibbles down a corridor and the dogs fended peacefully — and enthusiastically — for themselves with kibbles scattered everywhere. Hard to guard an estate hall and why bother: kibble everywhere! 

I guess my point is sometimes it seems easier  to troubleshoot and develop a workaround (or training approach) for a specific trigger, circumstance, or environment. 

On muzzles, here is one approach to acclimating a dog to muzzles: Muzzles — Not Just for Aggression Anymore.

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watergirl

does anyone feel a collar such as a bark collar would help to curb the growling and then the bite?

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Idaho Cairns

watergirl, I had forgotten the advice above from Brad concerning feeding an overly assertive and food protecting dog one kibble at a time.  We used this very successfully with one of our Cairns a number of years back.  As I recall it took a couple of months (maybe less) to get the behavior modified to an acceptable level.
I think what this method of feeding does is reinforce, for the dog, exactly who is in charge of this most basic function--the need to eat.  It puts you in primary role in a non-threatening manner and it puts your hands in the right place on a constantly positive situation.  I think it makes the dog re-evaluate the roles of dog vs human in a very elemental way.  Hand feeding is worth a try and it gives you lots of opportunity to verbally  reinforce the "hand" with "Good Dog!" one kibble at a time.
Give it a try.
 

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Terrier lover

Water girl I would be concerned that any kind of shock treatment or citronella spray would make the problem of your girl being even more fearful and aggressive. I think Brads and Idaho’s hand feeding her kibble is something you might want to try.

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bradl

My personal belief is that a dog's growl is speech and we should listen. Whenever we say a dog did something without warning they almost always have given us *multiple* levels of warning. Shutting down a growl makes us feel better but does a disservice to the dog (in my view),

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dog person

Quote: "Dogperson I think to say no dog can tolerate a muzzle is overstating it but then you say maybe a soft one so hard to know what you think. "

To elaborate, I bought a hard rubber basket style muzzle, it takes a few minutes to put it on as it attaches to a collar.

It is bulky, fits his nose but rubs against his eyes.   Anyway after about 2 minutes the dog frantically starting pawing at it, rubbing against walls.   I was concerned he was going to hurt himself.     I tried 2 more times and he was even more determined to remove it.

In the past I have used a mesh style muzzle on a brachycephalic breed, only for grooming, with good effect.  Left alone he could paw at it and remove it in a second.

I have used the cone style plastic muzzles in the past for vet visits and grooming.   This style holds the mouth shut and are not intended to be kept on more than a few minutes as the dog could have difficulty breathing.   They also are uncomfortable and the dogs will attempt to remove.     I would never leave a dog unattended with a muzzle on, I assume everyone knows that.

For one of my dogs the water spray bottle was effective.  I would spray her right in the snout and she would stop what she was doing.

After a while if I just picked up the spray bottle she would stop.

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dog person

Addendum:

Just because I did not find the muzzle helpful does not mean that someone else won't.    I think it depends on the dog.  It depends on the behavior you are addressing.    

But as I said, I have found that a firm NO and the spray water bottle were the most helpful to stop undesirable behaviors.

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Dianne
20 hours ago, bradl said:

We've had dogs who were pills about their food bowl. So we stopped using a bowl and fed them by hand, a few kibbles at a time. 

This reminds me of when we were fostering naughty rescue Westies  for their forever homes..

Here are the steps:

dog is in a "sit stay", with food in the bowl that you are holding, take small amounts in your hand to feed until gone. Praise after each bite. Good dog.

After a few sessions, hold the empty bowl in your hand and place bites of food in the bowl, letting dog eat a bite at a time, praise after each bite.  

After some sessions, place bowl on floor keeping both your hands on the rim, dog is in "sit stay" release him with an OK and let him have the bite you placed there until you work up to the whole meal all while your hands remain on the bowl rim. Final goal step is dog in "sit stay", food in bowl on the floor, no hands on bowl, you releasing him with OK. And this is how he will eat from now on.

Doesn't take very long. Point being dogs must earn their food and treats! Its their paycheck for being wonderful companions. Sit stay tells him something good is coming and that YOU are in charge. 

Best of luck.

cheers!

 

 

 

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watergirl

I started with the food bowl and she sits and i sit on the floor and slowly give her one mothful at a time. She has been perfect, no growling so i think in a day or two I will put a bit in her bowl one mouthful at a time. I put some peanut butter in her soft muzzle and she is right on it except she licks it out without putting her nose in it. I keep having issues with her bowels and one day her stool is soft and the next she is straining. I used pumpkin for the hard and it got better so I eased off but now she is too soft and I feed her Purina One. I have also started giving her a probiotic but her bowels are the resaon I got bit from trying to wash her. I can't even wipe her, she just freaks out.

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Terrier lover

Perhaps ease up on the pumpkin a bit? In my experience it works both way. 

It looks like what you are doing is starting to work....It just takes time...same with the muzzle. I wonder what your groomer uses given she never nips at her? Perhaps get her to help you get Addie used to the a muzzle?

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