How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question

Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19098
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
2361900
Type Your Dog Training Question Here...
Jane Lefler is online now

I have a 2 year old fox terrier sheltie cross breed who was

Resolved Question:

I have a 2 year old fox terrier sheltie cross breed who was abused badly as a pup. Her previous owner is a foster carer. The two boys (teenagers) she was fostering attacked her, kicking her so badly she spent 6 weeks at the vets and now has pins in her spine, hip and ribs. She was then returned to the abusive home for a further 10 months. She is terrified when two people are near her; has bitten my husband's foot, has Jekyll and Hyde behaviour fluctuating between cuddly to snarling, growling and snapping. How can we help her to settle? How can I stop her going for my husband? What do I do when she does snarl or snap?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
.
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
.
So this girl was about a year old when she was viciously abused?
I'm assuming she is spayed, but correct me if I'm wrong and tell me when her last heat cycle was?
Is she allowed on furniture?
has she had any obedience training?
Does she sneak up on your husband to bite him?
By the jekyll and hyde behavior, do you mean you are petting her and all is fine when she suddenly decides to attack you?
Is she on any pain reliever from the injuries?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Jane, thanks for your reply. In answer to your questions:


 


Yes, Mabel was roughly a year old.


Right again, she is spayed.


We've started basic obedience and she has responded well - she's very clever.


No, she doesn't sneak up; she'll be on my lap or on Dave's chair and he'll go to stroke her and she'll growl and go for his hand and then tremble in terror once she's told off - yes again, she is allowed on the furniture.


the Jekyll and Hyde thing, she'll be on my lap and settled down and then just start growling and from that sometimes she'll move on to just trembling and crying on my knee or she'll start to snarl.


She doesn't receive any pain relief and has no follow up treatment from the previous vet.


 

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.

Anne,

.

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. I am so sorry this little girl was subjected to such abuse at such a young age. It is a shame. I do worry that it might have led to some long term pain issues from the pins and repairs done. Often dogs will develop arthritis and aches from severe injuries that remain long after the bones have healed. This might be a contributing factor to he seemingly jekyll and hyde act. She may allow some petting but if she is in pain, it becomes too much and she lashes out to stop you from petting her. There are some medical conditions that can cause sudden aggression as well as pain and those may be a factor. Unfortunately, these would not be able to be ruled out without testing.

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/medical-causes-of-aggression-in-dogs/page1.aspx

http://www.apdt.com/veterinary/assets/pdf/Dodman_MA10.pdf

 

.

Another part of this is a dominance issue. She is indeed trying to boss the humans around and it seems to be working. As long as she is ok with what you are doing, everything is fine, but then she become tired of being touched and just wants to lay there undisturbed and when you continue, she lashes out. Over time, YOU learn that when she growls, you stop petting or leave her alone. This is behavior we see with dominant dogs.

.

Many dominant dogs are described as well behaved until you try to get them to do something they do not want to do, and then they reprimand you either with a growl or bite if you don't heed the growl. Things like taking away something they want, making them move when they don't want to, waking them up, etc can cause them to reprimand (bite) you. Seems that this should be familiar to you.

 

Dogs that are allowed on furniture (even if put on the furniture) tend to feel that since they are elevated to your level or higher if on your lap, they mentally feel elevated as well in the pack order and thus are the boss. Keeping them on the floor can help lower them mentally back to a submissive position in the pack. So the first thing is to not allow her higher that the humans or even on the same level. If she insists on getting up on the furniture or lap, attach a leash and use it to remove her from the furniture. Give a correction in the form of a short tug and firm "NO" when ahe attempts to get on and a treat when she starts not trying to get on the furniture. Thus you are providing negative reinforcement for the getting on the furniture and positive reinforcement for the desired behavior (not attempting to get on the furniture). The leash stops her from biting you when attempting to move her.

 

There are other ways to regain the dominant position in the house as well. The best way is to start obedience training. While a formal training class is great, you need to do a lot of work at home with her. Practice what you learn in class at home.

 

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

 

Obedience training helps by making the humans the bosses and lower members do not reprimand the boss, and it also helps a dog gain self confidence by teaching them what humans expect of them when they give a command, so it helps with fear biting as well. It really is an all around great behavior modifier for various situation.

 

You want to keep a short leash on her to get her attention when she needs a reprimand. If she disobeys in any way including growling at you or your husband, use the leash and a verbal reprimand. I know not letter her on the furniture may be difficult for you, but you have to at least for a few weeks after she stops trying. After that, make her obey a command in order to EARN the privilege of coming on the couch for some affection. Once YOU decide it has been long enough, give the command for her to get off the couch. Some use OFF, other use GO. She respect you more and be less likely to try to reprimand you since the obedience work and lowering her in the pack will make you the boss and you don't reprimand the boss. Only the boss reprimands. Now it won't help for pain related attacks.

 

So you have already started on the most important part of correcting the situation with the obedience training. So just add the daily practice, and keep her off the furniture and make her work for the basics in life. It is not cruel. Additonally, if you are giving her attention by petting her when she is displaying unwanted behavior, you are actually encouraging the behavior. I know it is hard to be firm with a dog when you know they have had a horrible start in life, but they tend to put that behind them quicker than humans do.

 

In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques I describe, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.

http://www.apdt.co.uk/dog-owners/local-dog-trainers

 

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
.

Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19098
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you so much for your comprehensive answer; we'll get started straight away. Enjoy your bank holiday weekend, anne

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Anne,

You are very welcome.

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
< Previous | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Pawsitivtrainr

    Pawsitivtrainr

    Dog Trainer

    Satisfied Customers:

    127
    35+ years Training Dogs
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PA/Pawsitivtrainr/2012-6-19_191152_DOROTHYANN500X509.64x64.jpg Pawsitivtrainr's Avatar

    Pawsitivtrainr

    Dog Trainer

    Satisfied Customers:

    127
    35+ years Training Dogs
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AG/agilityaddict/2012-6-6_18501_IMG4422.64x64.jpg agilityaddict's Avatar

    agilityaddict

    Pet Trainer

    Satisfied Customers:

    33
    20 years experience training dogs in obedience and agility, current 4-H agility superintendent
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/jadedangel/2015-8-10_192649_janenewsm.64x64.jpg Jane Lefler's Avatar

    Jane Lefler

    Animal Behaviorist

    Satisfied Customers:

    647
    Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MS/MsAM/2012-6-9_16426_anna.64x64.jpeg Anna's Avatar

    Anna

    Teacher, writer, biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    270
    Great research skills, variety of work experiences, teaching experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PD/pdheslin/2012-6-6_232056_pambig.64x64.jpg pdheslin's Avatar

    pdheslin

    Consultant

    Satisfied Customers:

    51
    20+ years of internet site creation and search engine optimization. Dozens of search tools at my disposal.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BL/blueflowers1063/2013-10-10_35834_KimHolidays1.64x64.jpg Kim D.'s Avatar

    Kim D.

    Consultant

    Satisfied Customers:

    27
    Researcher 20+yrs in small and large institutions
 
 
 

Related Dog Training Questions