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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some two years ago a chow in horrible shape showed up in our neighborhood. The neghborhood was still (and still is) under developement. The animal was in poor shape with hereditary mange, gunky eye snot and a chaffing rope "collar."

My wife gives it water, then food, then takes it to a groomer to get shaved to remove all the snarls, snags, and matted hair growths, then to the vet for spaying and shots, and mange treatment... to make a long story short (too late) we adopt this poor critter and take her in.

It is clear she was abused. She has taken to treating the home and property as "her's" and will bark at the doorbell and people walking up to the door or street in front of the home if she see's them from from her window perch.

She is not aggressive. She does not charge and bark, but she has a passive-aggressive personality lacking a better way to put it.

Her are the incidents we've had:

One day she was not feed, she had not yet been spayed and was in heat, my son had a bowl of stew in the living room (special treat) and eatting. He walked away and she took to eating his stew. I told him not to let her take his food and shoo her off. She snarled and snapped at him. I flew over there, grabbed her, she snarled snapped, and promptly got choked half unconscious.

I am now alpha male.

A visiting she child was at our house. Though the child was told not to attempt to pet the dog, he ignored us and cornered the dog and got snarled and yelped at. No snap, no bite, but scary violent reaction from the dog.

A visiting adult almost got the same thing but for him finally listening to my near shouts not to pet the dog.

A second visiting child who knew not to attempt to pet the dog apparently fogot. I think the animal was "warming" to her and walked past and she readhed down to pet her. This surprised her and snapped and bit the child on the hand, left a red welt, but no broken skin.

I have now had three incidents, two involving someone else's child. No PD reports. No broken skin. She has always snapped and ran away from the child with tail tucked.

She gives clear indication she doesn't want to be touched by laying back her ears, tucking tail and hunching or backing away. If you press her past this behavior is when you get the violent self-protective snarls, snaps, and yelps.

The animal is loving with us and greets us at the door when we arrive home. Loves to go on walks and play chase games (we chase her, she chases us), get petted (by us) and groomed.

We are the gathering point for the kids in the neighborhood and in the last year we've had hundreds of opportunity to have incidents, but the children have by far heeded our direction and just left her alone.

She just is scared of strangers, clearly abused.

Suggestions on training her out of snapping? Can it be done?

Do I need to put her down before I get sued because of a damaging bite?
 

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I think you need to take a long hard look at the reality of this situation. Firstly, this is pretty normal behavior from chows. Many die-hard chow lovers will swear they are friendly sweet dogs, but I've darn well yet to meet one. They are notoriously one person dogs. I don't know enough about the breed to venture reasons as to why this is. The problem here is that whether or not this dog was abused, she is fear aggressive from the sound of things (if you're looking for a name for the behavior you are describing). IE: she's pretty friendly and perhaps even laid back unless she's cornered or feels threatened. The other behavior she's exhibiting (the bowl of stew) is resource guarding.

While it peaks my curiosity as to why your son was eating presumably dinner and the dog hadn't eaten that day, it's really beside the point. The dog should not snap at, growl, or otherwise guard what she sees as "her" possessions from the child or you.

Here's the quick and simple breakdown as I see it: all the incidents occured in your house, when the dog and child were allowed to interact. You can not allow a child around this dog. Someones kid is going to get seriously hurt, or you're going to get sued (likely both). It's not worth the risk to their child or yours. You have to be 110% dedicated to keeping this dog away from other children (when they are there, the dog is in a closed bedroom, or the backyard if the kids are inside), and working hard at teaching yours to see your son as an alpha and not a subordinate (this is unlikely - how old is your son, sounds young?). If you feel this is not possible, and it honestly may not be, then yes I'd recommend a humane euthanasia. At your vet. Please don't take the dog to a shelter and drop him off asking him to be put down. It just makes me sick when people do that.

If you want advice on training, I can offer that. But IMHO you are fighting a losing battle. Thank you, and your wife, for giving the dog a chance (many chances in fact). You did a good thing. But it may be time to let go. In case the thought has even crossed your mind - I would not adopt this dog out to anyone. A lot of people try to go this route - they say things like "no kids, single adult male only," etc. The liability risk is just too big.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I think you need to take a long hard look at the reality of this situation.
Exactly what I'm doing. I'm considering killing an animal that greets me with a wagging tail and wants to play and be with me. I'll do what needs doing, but I ain't feeling good about what I may have to do.

Firstly, this is pretty normal behavior from chows. Many die-hard chow lovers will swear they are friendly sweet dogs, but I've darn well yet to meet one. They are notoriously one person dogs. I don't know enough about the breed to venture reasons as to why this is. The problem here is that whether or not this dog was abused, she is fear aggressive from the sound of things (if you're looking for a name for the behavior you are describing). IE: she's pretty friendly and perhaps even laid back unless she's cornered or feels threatened. The other behavior she's exhibiting (the bowl of stew) is resource guarding.
Thank you, I just learned the term from another web-site and fear aggression is exactly what she is displaying. I'm not a dog-lover, or chow-lover, that's just the animal "we" ended up rescuing.

While it peaks my curiosity as to why your son was eating presumably dinner and the dog hadn't eaten that day, it's really beside the point.
Then don't bring it up. Things happen in busy families: I had just returned home and my wife was called out of the house on an emergency and the dog didn't get the feeding my stay-at home wife usually administers mid-day. I had arrived home having picked the kids up from the friend who picked up our kids school because my wife was unavailable. I called my wife and she told me handn't feed her before she had to run out. Things happen. I'm fairly certain something similar has happened with you and your dogs- a delayed feededing is not abuse.

The dog should not snap at, growl, or otherwise guard what she sees as "her" possessions from the child or you.
Thank you we are back on track.

Here's the quick and simple breakdown as I see it: all the incidents occured in your house, when the dog and child were allowed to interact. You can not allow a child around this dog. Someones kid is going to get seriously hurt, or you're going to get sued (likely both). It's not worth the risk to their child or yours. You have to be 110% dedicated to keeping this dog away from other children (when they are there, the dog is in a closed bedroom, or the backyard if the kids are inside), and working hard at teaching yours to see your son as an alpha and not a subordinate (this is unlikely - how old is your son, sounds young?). (he was 9 at the time.) If you feel this is not possible, and it honestly may not be, then yes I'd recommend a humane euthanasia.
I agree. I'm just not sure how we can accomplish this- it don't feel right caging her for hours (like 4 pm - 7 pm) give or take, weekdays and almost all day on the weekend, again- we've the house all the kids gather to play.

If you want advice on training, I can offer that. But IMHO you are fighting a losing battle.
What would you recommend for possible retraining?


Thank you, and your wife, for giving the dog a chance (many chances in fact). You did a good thing. But it may be time to let go. In case the thought has even crossed your mind - I would not adopt this dog out to anyone. A lot of people try to go this route - they say things like "no kids, single adult male only," etc. The liability risk is just too big.
I think we agree- she's turned into a great family dog, plays with the kids, wife and I, and a few close friends of the family, but the "strangers" who ignore the warnings are scaring me quite a bit.
 

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I think the best thing would be if you could find her a home with someone who has no kids around, like an elderly person. Quick and appropriate punishment for bad behavior is the best way to train the bite out of her, but you sound like you can't risk the possibility of a similar instance re-occuring.
 

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Then don't bring it up. Things happen in busy families
Best of luck with your dog. My apologies for attempting to offer you some advice. Rest assured it will not happen again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think the best thing would be if you could find her a home with someone who has no kids around, like an elderly person. Quick and appropriate punishment for bad behavior is the best way to train the bite out of her, but you sound like you can't risk the possibility of a similar instance re-occuring.

You've nailed it- I can't address and train the response when the next reponse could be one which gets me sued.
 

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having thought about your situation for awhile, i can empathize with you.

you do run the risk of being sued during these more difficult financial times for everybody. you know there is a problem. if someone's attorney found out about this prior knowledge, this pup can be a costly time bomb.

the other major issue is having the pup being put down. you never mentioned how old the pup is and surmized the doggie came to you with a lot of previous "baggage".

you know that the dog is a product of it's environment. you have clearly gone far above what needs to be done.

i would recommend finding a family who resides far in the country that has some acreage. clearly the pup has accepted being part of the pack and assumed a submissive role for you. chances are the dog will do the same for a family that has less "chaos". maybe trying to locate a family with older children and no pets. an older couple (retired?) looking for a watch dog would be ideal...

fwiw - i had a chow mix that did snap at the oldest when he started running. the pup quickly learned were she was in the pack (do a search for chows and you'll see their temperment). for another 8 years, no problem. however when she neared 16, she snapped at the wife. then i knew it was time.

if i where closer, i'd help you out.

much luck.
 
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