MemberOctober 1, 2017 at 2:43 am360
I’m glad to see Kim has already pointed you toward the “clear headed” page. The biggest thing to take away from those videos is to see that regardless of whether your dog is clear headed or not, with proper obedience training (among other things), obedience training should and can override and manage most dogs. This should give you confidence and motivation to obedience train your dog. Please don’t undermine the value of proper obedience training. No, it is not a cure, but it is a necessary form of management (and ALL dog need management on some level, but dogs that bite DEFINITELY need a solid management plan). Additionally, it can also be used as a tool to further help behavior modification plans.
I would also like to add a few things.
Knowledge: Before we do any training: knowledge, understanding, and respect for who our dog is, is always the foundation of our relationship and goals with them. This is why “canine behavior” is the foundation and first layer in the pyramid of our training system.
It is important to understand that the trait you explained which sounds to me like “excitability”(a trait that makes dog extremely responsive to external stimuli) and “sound sensitivity” (a trait that makes dog show excessive fear when confronted with loud or sharp sound) are inherited traits, meaning they are genetic. This in modern society in the average pet home is usually considered an undesirable trait, but we must understand that from a survival standpoint in wolves and wild dogs, this very trait is what allows them to survive. A dog or wolf that is aware of its surrounding, cautious, and quick to act usually live longer than the one that “takes risk” and ignore it.
Like all behavior, it is always a combination of nature and nurture. We cannot change genetics, but with proper training we can do our best to help him be the best he can be from a nurture(training) stand point. Then we can manage what is left that is genetics. Nurture/training plays a HUGE role in a dog’s behavior, so there is definitely hope for lots of improvement.
On top of the excitability and sound sensitivity, I think a lot of his “aggression” is fear base.
He seem to be a mix of what we call a “fear biter” which is a dog that feels he has no way out and is “forced” to bite. This would make sense in a shelter environment, where he is already stressed, environment is loud, and he don’t have much space.
He also sound like a case of fear aggression, which is aggression directed at a seemingly “irrational threat”, usually with the mentality of “I’m going to get your before you get me” reasoning.
Question: is he territorial? I ask because you mentioned he bit the workers that came into the living room where he lived. Was their presence the trigger of the bite? Or was it because he was caught off guard with them showing up? Or did they make a loud sound, etc that triggered Navy to bite?
Does he bark or show any aggression to EVERYONE that is not part of the family when they come near your home? or is it only directed at people that make loud sound or move unexpectedly close to him? etc
First and most important thing is to muzzle train your dog. All dog can benefit from muzzle training, but dogs that have bitten before should definitely be muzzled train for the safety of others as well as themselves.
Secondly, I recommend obedience training. We have video instruction that can be found here:
start with phase 1 and work yourself up from their.
Obedience will help with management.
A dog that is in the down, sit, placed, heel position etc cannot charge and bite someone else. it’s black and white. one or the other. which is why absolute obedience is a good tool of management.
Obedience also help create impulse control. From your description of him being completely “wild and untrained”, it will definitely help him in that department. I believe lack of impulse control also play a major role in his issue which means if we can teach him to control himself better, he’ll have more success at controlling his impulse for aggressive behavior. But it starts with the simple thing. If he can;t control his impulse to break the sit, or down, how can we expect him to have the impulse control to control himself from charging at someone?
lastly, obedience will give you a tool to use for behavior modification exercise.
For example, you can put him in the “place” command while strangers walk by (at a distance at first) meanwhile praising him and giving him high value treats. This can help desensitize him.
This also works with sound. Place him on the “place” command while you play sounds at a low volume first, rewarding him with high value treats (or his meal) to associate sound with something positive. Over time, you slowly increase the volume of sounds to increase his threshold.
You are more than welcome to create a journal and add text or videos so we can further help you.
I also recommend going through the self help section:
This will give you more information and help on how to troubleshoot your dog behavior as well as training. There are many layers that need to be addressed before “obedience” such as “leadership” so please check that link out before training. Every layer is dependent on the previous.
There is so much more to add and I’m sure more trainers will happily chime in to give their opinion and advice. Feel free to give us more information, since the more information and detail we have to work with, the better hold we can get of the situation and better help you.
But hopefully I helped you a bit and pointed you toward the right direction.
Keep us updated 🙂